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Full text of "Works. New ed., to which is prefixed an essay on his life and genius"

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J. Iladilon, Printer.> Walk, 







The plan of an English Dictionary - 3 

Preface to the English Dictionary - 31 

Proposals for printing the Works of Shakespeare - 68 

Preface to Ditto - - - 77 

/General Observations on Shakespeare's Plays - - 141 

^Account of the Harleian Library - - - 171 

Essay on the Origin and Importance of Fugitive Pieces 184 

Account of the Life of Benvenuto Cellini - - - 195 

View of the Controversy between Crousaz and Warburton 198 

Preliminary Discourse to the London Chronicle, 1757 203 

Introduction to the World Displayed 208 

Preface to the Preceptor - 235 

Preface to Holt's Dictionary - - 256 

Preface to the Translation of Father Lobo's Voyage - 265 

Essay on Epitaphs - ... 270 


Observations on the State of Affairs in 1756 - 281 

Introduction to the Political State of Great Britain - 294 
VOL. jv. a 



Review of Memoirs of the Court of Augustus - - 819 
Review of Four Letters from Sir Isaac Newton to Dr. 

Bentley - - 328 

Review of a Journal of Eight Days Journey from Ports 
mouth to Kingston upon Thames, &c. - - 333 
Review of an Essay on the Writings and Genius of Pope 349 
Reply to a Paper in the Gazatteer - 300 

Introduction to the Proceedings of the Committee for 

cloathing French Prisoners of War - 3G8 

On the Bravery of the English Common Soldiers - 371 
Consideration on the Plans for the Construction of Black 

Friars Bridge - - - - - - - 375 

Some Thoughts on Agriculture, Ancient and Modern 384 
Further Thoughts on Agriculture - - - . 391 
The Vision of Theodore, the Hermit of Tenerifle - 398 
The Picture of Human Life, from the Greek of Cebes 416 








To the Right Honourable PHILIP DORMER, Earl of 
CHESTERFIELD, one of his Majesty's Principal Secre 
taries of State. 

VV HEN first I undertook to write an English 


Dictionary, I had no expectation of any higher 
patronage than that of the proprietors of the copy, 
nor prospect of any other advantage than the price 
of my labour. I knew that the work in which I 
engaged is generally considered as drudgery for the 
blind, as the proper toil of artless industry ; a task 
that requires neither the light of learning, nor the 
activity of genius, but may be successfully performed 
without any higher quality than that of bearing 
burthens with dull patience, and beating the track of 
the alphabet with sluggish resolution. 



Whether this opinion, so long transmitted, and 
so widely propagated, had its beginning from truth 
and nature, or from accident and prejudice; whe 
ther it be decreed by the authority of reason, or 
the tyranny of ignorance, that of all the candidates 
for literary praise, the unhappy lexicographer holds 
the lowest ^place, neither vanity nor interest in 
cited me to inquire. It appeared that the pro 
vince allotted me was, of all the regions of learn 
ing, generally confessed to be the least delightful, 
that it was believed to produce neither fruits nor 
flowers; and that, after a long and laborious cul 
tivation, not even the barren laurel had been found 
upon it. 

Yet on this province, my Lord, I entered, with 
the pleasing hope, that, as it was low, it likewise 
would be safe. I was drawn forward with the pro 
spect of employment, which, though not splendid, 
would be useful ; and which, though it could not 
make my life envied, would keep it innocent ; 
which would awaken no passion, engage me in no 
contention, nor throw in my way any temptation to 
disturb the quiet of others by censure, or my own 
by flattery. 

I had read indeed of times, in which princes and 
statesmen thought it part of their honour to promote 

the improvement of their native tongues ; and in 
., . , _ . 

which dictionaries were written under the protec 
tion of greatness. To the patrons of such under 
takings I willingly paid the homage of believing 
that they, who were thus solicitous for the perpetuity 
of their language, had reason to expect that their 
actions would be celebrated by posterity, and that 



the eloquence which they promoted would be em 
ployed in their praise. But I consider such acts of 
beneficence as prodigies, recorded rather to raise 
wonder than expectation ; and content with the 
terms that I had stipulated, had not suffered my 
imagination to flatter me with any other encourage 
ment, when I found that my design had been thought 
by your Lordship of importance sufficient to attract 
your favour. 

How far this unexpected distinction can be rated 
among the happy incidents of life, I am not yet 
able to determine. Its first effect has been to make 
me anxious, lest it should fix the attention of the 
public too much upon me, and, as it once happened 
to an epic poet of France, by raising the reputation 
of the attempt, obstruct the reception of the work. 
I imagine what the world will expect from a scheme, 
prosecuted under your Lordship's influence; and I 
know that expectation, when her wings are once 
expanded, easily reaches heights which performance 
never will attain : and when she has mounted the 
summit of perfection, derides her follower, who dies 
in the pursuit. 

Not therefore to raise expectation, but to repress 
it, I here lay before your Lordship the Plan of my 
undertaking, that more may not be demanded than 
I intend ; and that, before it is too far advanced to 
be thrown into a new method, I may be advertised 
of its defects or superfluities. Such informations I 
may justly hope, from the emulation with which 
those, who desire the praise of elegance or discern 
ment, must contend in the promotion of a design 


that you, my Lord, have not thought unworthy to 
share your attention with treaties and with wars. 

In the first attempt to methodise my ideas, I found 
a difficulty which extended itself to the whole 
work. It was not easy to determine by what rule of 
distinction the words of this Dictionary were to be 
chosen. The chief intent of it is to preserve the 
purity, and ascertain the meaning- of our English 
idiom; and this seems to require nothing more than 
that our language be considered, so far as it is our 
own ; that the words and phrases used in the general 
intercourse of life, or found in the works of those 
whom we commonly style polite writers, be selectecf] 
without including the terms of particular professions; 
since, with the arts to which they relate, they are 
generally derived from other nations, and are very 
often the same in all the languages of this part of the 
world. This is, perhaps, the exact and pure idea 
of a grammatical dictionary; but in lexicography, 
as in other arts, naked science is too delicate for the 
purposes of life. The value of a work must be 
estimated by its use : it is not enough that a diction 
ary delights the critic, unless, at the same time, it 
instructs the learner ; as it is to little purpose that an 
engine amuses the philosopher by the subtilty of its 
mechanism, if it requires so much knowledge in its 
application as to be of no advantage to the common 

The title which I prefix to my work has long 
conveyed a very miscellaneous idea, and they that 
take a dictionary into their hands, have been ac 
customed to expect from it a solution of almost every 


difficulty. If foreign words therefore were rejected,! 
it could be little regarded, except by critics, ojJ 
those who aspire to criticism ; and however it might 
enlighten those that write, would be all darkness to 
them that only read. The unlearned much oftenev 
consult their dictionaries for the meaning of words, 
than for their structures or formations; and the 
words that most want explanation, are generally 
terms of art ; which, therefore, experience has taught 
my predecessors to spread with a kind of pompous 
luxuriance over their productions. 

The academicians of .France, indeed, rejected terms 
of science in their first essay, but found afterwards a 
necessity of relaxing the rigour of their determina 
tion ; and, though they would not naturalize them 
at once by a single act, permitted them by degrees to 
settle themselves among the natives with little oppo 
sition; and it would surely be no proof of judgment 
to imitate them in an error which they have now re 
tracted, and deprive the book of its chief use, by 
scrupulous distinctions. 

Of such words, however, all are not equally to 
be considered as parts of our language ; for some of 
them are naturalized and incorporated, but others 
still continue aliens, and are rather auxiliaries than 
subjects. This naturalization is produced either by 
an admission into common speech, in some meta 
phorical signification, which is the acquisition of a 
kind of property among us; as we say the zenith 
of advancement, the meridian of life, the cynosure* 
of neighbouring eyes; or it is the consequence of 

* Milton. 


long intermixture and frequent use, by which the 
ear is accustomed to the sound of words, till their 
original is forgotten, as in equator, satellites; or of 
the change of a foreign into an English termination, 
and a conformity to the laws of the speech into 
which they are adopted ; as in category, cachexy, 

Of those which still continue in the state of aliens, 
and have made no approaches towards assimilation, 
some seem necessary to be retained; because the 
purchasers of the Dictionary will expect to find 
them. Such are many words in the common law, 
as capias, habeas corpus, praemunire, nisi prius : such 
are some terms of controversial divinity, as hypostasis; 
and of physic, as the names of diseases; and in 
general, all terms which can be found in books not 
written professedly upon particular arts, or can be sup 
posed necessary to those who do not regularly study 
them. Thus, when a reader not skilled in physic 
happens in Milton upon this line, 

. pining atrophy, 

Marasmus, and wide-wasting pestilence, 

he will, with equal expectation, look into his dic 
tionary for the word marasmus, as for atrophy, or 
pestilence; and will have reason to complain if he 
does not find it. 

It seems necessary to the completion of a diction 
ary designed not merely for critics, but for popular 
use, that it should comprise, in some degree, the 
peculiar words of every profession; that the terms 
of war and navigation should be inserted, so far as 
they can be required by readers of travels, and of 


history ; and those of law, merchandise, and mecha 
nical trades, so far as they can be supposed useful in 
the occurrences of common life. 

But there ought, however, to be some distinction 
made between the different classes of words; and 
therefore it will be proper to print those which are j 
incorporated into the language in the usual character, 1 
and those which are still to be considered as foreign, 
in the italic letter. 

Another question may arise with regard to appella- ) 
tives, or the names of species. It seems of no great j 
use to set down the words horse, dog, cat, willow, 
alder, daisy, rose, and a thousand others, of which 
it will be hard to give an explanation, not more ob 
scure than the word itself. Yet it is to be considered, 
that, if the names of animals be inserted, we must 
admit those which are more known, as well as those 
with which we are, by accident, less acquainted ; 
and if they are all rejected, how will the reader be 
relieved from difficulties produced by allusions to 
the crocodile, the chameleon, the ichneumon, and 
the hyaena ? If no plants are to be mentioned, the 
most pleasing part of nature will be excluded, and 
many beautiful epithets be unexplained. If only 
those which are less known are to be mentioned, who 
shall fix the limits of the reader's learning ? The im 
portance of such explications appears from the 
mistakes which the want of them has occasioned. 
Had Shakespeare had a dictionary of this kind, he 
had not made the woodbine entwine the honey 
suckle ; nor would Milton, with such assistance, 
have disposed so improperly of his ellops and his 

10 THE PLAN 01 

Besides, as such words, like others, require that 
their accents should be settled, their sounds ascer 
tained, and their etymologies deduced, they cannot 
be properly omitted in the dictionary. And though 
the explanations of some may be censured as trivial, 
because they are almost universally understood ; and 
those of others as unnecessary, because they will sel 
dom occur ; yet it seems not proper to omit them, 
since it is rather to be wished that many readers 
should find more than they expect, than that one 
should miss what he might hope to find. 

When all the words are selected and arranged, 
the first part of the work to be considered is_ the 
orthography, which \as long vague and uncertain ; 
which at last, when its fluctuation ceased, was in 
many cases settled but by accident \ and in which, 
according to your Lordship's observation, there is 
still great uncertainty among the best critics : nor is 
it easy to state a rule by wnich we may decide be 
tween custom and reason, or between the equiponde 
rant authorities of writers alike eminent for judgment 
and accuracy. 

The great orthographical contest has long subsisted 
between etymology and pronunciation. It has been 
demanded, on one hand, that men should write as 
they speak; but as it has been shewn that this 
conformity never was attained in any language, and 
that it is not more easy to persuade men to agree ex 
actly in speaking than in writing it may be asked 
with equal propriety, why men do not rather speak 
as they write. In France, where this controversy 
was at its greatest height, neither party, however 
ardent, durst adhere steadily to their own rule; the 



etymologist was often forced to spell with the people ; 
and the advocate for the authority of pronunciation 
found it sometimes deviating so capriciously from the 
received use of writing, that he was constrained to 
comply with the rule of his adversaries, lest he should 
lose the end by the means, and be left alone by fol 
lowing the crowd. 

When a question of orthography is dubious, that 
practice has, in my opinion, a claim to preference 
which preserves the greatest number of radical let 
ters, or seems most to comply with the general cus 
torn of our language. But the chief rule which I 
propose to follow is, to make no innovation, with 
out a reason sufficient to balance the inconvenience 
of change ; and such reasons I do not expect often to 
find. All change is of itself an evil, which ought not 
to be hazarded but for evident advantage ; and as in 
constancy is in every case a mark of weakness, it will 
add nothing to the reputation of our tongue. There 
are, indeed, some who despise the inconveniences of 
confusion, who seem to take pleasure in departing 
from custom, and to think alteration desirable for its 
own sake ; and the reformation of our orthography, 
which these writers have attempted, should not pass 
without its due honours, but that I suppose they hold 
a singularity its own reward, or may dread the fasci^ 
nation of lavish praise. 

The present usage of spelling, where the present 
usage can be distinguished, will therefore, in this 
work, be generally followed \ yet there will be often, 
occasion to observe, that it is in itself inaccurate, 
and tolerated rather than chosen ; particularly when, 
by a change of one letter, or more, the meaning of 


a word is obscured ; as in farrier, or ferrier, as it 
was formerly written, from ferrum, or fer ; in ^6- 
teroA, for gebrteh, the jargon of Geber and his 
chymical followers, understood by none but their 
own tribe. It will be likewise sometimes proper to 
trace back the orthography of different ages, and 
shew by what gradations the word departed from its 

Closely connected with orthography is pronun 
ciation, the stability of which is of great importance 
to the duration of a language, because the first 
change will naturally begin by corruptions in the 
living speech. The want of certain rules for the 
pronunciation of former ages, has made us wholly 
ignorant of the metrical art of our ancient poets ; 
and since those who study their sentiments regret 
the loss of their numbers, it is surely time to pro 
vide that the harmony of the moderns may be more 

A new pronunciation will make almost a new 
speech ; and therefore, since one great end - of this 
undertaking is to fix the English language, care will 
be taken to determine the accentuation of all poly 
syllables by proper authorities, as it is one of those 
capricious phaenomena which cannot be easily re 
duced to rules. Thus there is no antecedent reason 
for difference of accent in the words dolorous and so 
norous ; yet of the one Milton gives the sound in this 

He pass* d o'er many a region dolorous 
and that of the other in this, 

Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds'. 


It may likewise be proper to remark metrical li 
cences, such as contractions, generous, gen'rous ; re 
verend, rev 1 rend; and coalitions, as region, question. 

But it is still more necessary to fix the pronuncia 
tion of monosyllables, by placing- with them words 
of correspondent sound, that one may guard the 
other against the danger of that variation, which, 
to some of the most common, has already happened ; 
so that the words wound and wind, as they are now 
frequently pronounced, will not rhyme to sound and 
mind. It is to be remarked, that many words written 
alike are differently pronounced, as^fow, and brow: 
which may be thus registered, flow, woe; brow, now ; 
or of which the exemplification may be generally 
given by a distich : thus the words tear, or lacerate, 
and tear, the water of the eye, have the same let 
ters, but may be distinguished thus, tear, dare; tear, 

Some words have two sounds, "which may be equal 
ly admitted, as being equally defensible by authority. 
Thus great is differently used : 

For Swift and him despis'd the farce of state, 
The sober follies of the wise and great. POPE. 

As if misfortune made the throne her seat, 

And none could be unhappy but the great. HOWE. 

The care of such minute particulars may be cen 
sured as trifling; but these particulars have not been 
thought unworthy of attention in more polished 

The accuracy of the French in stating the sounds 
of their letters, is well known; and, among the 


Italians, Crescembeni has not thought it unnecessary 
to inform his countrymen of the words which, in 
compliance with different rhymes, are allowed to be 
differently spelt, and of which the number is now so 
fixed, that no modern poet is suffered to increase it. 

When the orthography and pronunciation are ad 
justed, the etymology or derivation is next to be con 
sidered, and the words are to be distinguished ac 
cording to the different classes, whether simple, as 
day, light, or compound, as day-light; whether 
primitive, as, to act, or derivative, as action, action-* 
able, active, activity. This will much facilitate the 
attainment of our language, which now stands in our 
dictionaries a confused heap of words without de 
pendence, and without relation. 

When this part of the work is performed, it will 
be necessary to inquire how our primitives are to be 
deduced from foreign languages, which may be often 
very successfully performed by the assistance of our 
own etymologists. This search will give occasion to 
many curious disquisitions, and sometimes perhaps to 
conjectures, which to readers unacquainted with 
this kind of study, cannot but appear improbable 
and capricious. But it may be reasonably imagined, 
that what is so much in the power of men as lan 
guage, will very often be capriciously conducted. 
Nor are these disquisitions and conjectures to be 
considered altogether as wanton sports of wit, or 
vain shews of learning; our language is well known 
not to be primitive or self-originated, but to have 
adopted words of every generation, and, either for 
the supply of its necessities, or the increase of its 
copiousness, to have received additions from very 


distant regions ; so that in search of the progenitors of 
our speech, we may wander from the tropic to the 
frozen zone, and find some in the vallies of Palestine, 
and some upon the rocks of Norway. 

Beside the derivation of particular words, there is 
likewise an etymology of phrases. Expressions are 
often taken from other languages ; some apparently, 
as to run a risque, courir un risque ; and some even 
when we do not seem to borrow their words; thus, 
iobring about or accomplish, appears an English phrase, 
but in reality our native word about, has no such 
import, and is only a French expression, of which we 
have an example in the common phrase venir d bout 
cVune affaire. 

In exhibiting the descent of our language, our 
etymologists seem to have been too lavish of their 
learning, having traced almost every word through 
various tongues, only to shew what was shewn suf 
ficiently by the first derivation. This practice is of 
great use in synoptical lexicons, where mutilated and 
doubtful languages are explained by their affinity 
to others more certain and extensive, but is gene 
rally superfluous in English etymologies. When 
the word is easily deduced from a Saxon original, I 
shall not often inquire further, since we know not 
the parent of the Saxon dialect ; but when it is bor 
rowed from the French, I shall shew whence the 
French is apparently derived. Where a Saxon root 
cannot be found, the defect may be supplied from 
kindred languages, which will be generally furnished 
with much liberality by the writers of our glossaries ; 
writers who deserve often the highest praise, both of 
judgment and industry, and may expect at least to 


be mentioned with honour by me, whom f&ey have 
freed from the greatest part of a very laborious work, 
and on whom they have imposed, at worst, only the 
easy task of rejecting superfluities. 

By tracing in this manner every word to its ori 
ginal, and not admitting, but with great caution, 
any of which no original can be found, we shall se 
cure our language from being over-run with cant, 
from being crowded with low terms, the spawn of 
folly or affectation, which arise from no just princi 
ples of speech, and of which therefore no legitimate 
derivation can be shewn. 

When the etymology is thus adjusted, the analogy 
of our language is next to be considered; when we 
have discovered whence our words are derived, we 
are to examine by what rules they are governed, and 
how they are inflected through their various termina 
tions. The terminations of the English are few, but 
those few have hitherto remained unregarded by the 
writers of our dictionaries. Our substantives are de 
clined only by the plural termination, our adjectives 
admit no variation but in the degrees of comparison, 
and our verbs are conjugated by auxiliary words, and 
are only changed in the preter tense. 

To our language may be with great justness ap 
plied the observation of Quintilian, that speech was 
not formed by an analogy sent from heaven. It did 
not descend to us in a state of uniformity and perfec 
tion, but was produced by necessity, and enlarged by 
accident, and is therefore composed of dissimilar parts, 
thrown together by negligence, by affectation, by 
learning, or by ignorance. 


Our inflections therefore are by no means constant, 
but admit of numberless irregularities, which in 
this Dictionary will be diligently noted. Thus fox 
makes in the plural foxes, but ox makes oxen. Sheep 
is the same in both numbers. Adjectives are some 
times compared by changing the last syllable, as 
proud, prouder, proudest ; and sometimes by particles 
prefixed, as ambitious, more ambitious, most ambi 
tious. The forms of our verbs are subject to great 
variety ; some end their preter tense in ed, as I love, 
I loved, I have loved ; which may be called the re 
gular form, and is followed by most of our verbs of 
southern original. But many depart from this rule, 
without agreeing in any other ; as I shake, I shook, I 
have shaken, or shook, as it is sometimes written in 
poetry ; I make, I made, I have made ; I bring, I 
brought ; I wring, I wrung ; and many others, which, 
as they cannot be reduced to rules, must be learned 
from the dictionary rather than the grammar. 

The verbs are likewise to be distinguished accord 
ing to their qualities, as actives from neuters -, the 
neglect of which has already introduced some bar 
barities in our conversation, which if not obviated 
by just animadversions, may in time creep into our 

Thus, my Lord, will our language be laid down, 
distinct in its minutest subdivisions, and resolved 
into its elemental principles. And who upon this 
survey can forbear to wish, that these fundamental 
atoms of our speech might obtain the firmness and 
immutability of the primogenial and constituent par 
ticles of matter, that they might retain their sub- 



stance while they alter their appearance, and be va 
ried and compounded, yet not destroyed. 

But this is a privilege which words are scarcely to 
expect : for, like their author, when they are not gain 
ing- strength, they are generally losing it. Though 
art may sometimes prolong their duration, it will 
rarely give them perpetuity ; and their changes will 
be almost always informing us, that language is the 
work of man, of a being from whom permanence 
and stability cannot be derived. 

Words having been hitherto considered as sepa 
rate and unconnected, are now to be likewise exa 
mined as they are ranged in their various relations 
to others by the rules of syntax or construction, to 
which I do not know that any regard has been yet 
shewn in English dictionaries, and in which the gram 
marians can give little assistance. The syntax of this 
language is too inconstant to be reduced to rules, 
and can be only learned by the distinct consideration 
of particular words as they are used by the best 
authors. Thus, we say, according to the present 
modes of speech, The soldier died of his wounds, 
and the sailor perished with hunger : and every man 
acquainted with our language would be offended by 
a change of these particles, which yet seem origi 
nally assigned by chance, there being no reason to be 
drawn from grammar why a man may not, with equal 
propriety, b said to die with a wound, or perish of 

Our syntax therefore is not to be taught by general 
rules, but by special precedents ; and in examining 
whether Addison has been with justice accused of a 
solecism in this passage, 




XT is the fate of those who toil at the lower em 
ployments of life, to be rather driven by the fear 
of evil, than attracted by the prospect of good ; to be 
exposed to censure, without hope of praise ; to be dis 
graced by miscarriage, or punished for neglect, where 
success would have been without applause, and dili 
gence without reward. 

Among these unhappy mortals is the writer of dic 
tionaries ; whom mankind have considered, not as 
the pupil, but the slave of science, the pioneer of li 
terature, doomed only to remove rubbish and clear 
obstructions from the paths through which Learning 
and Genius press forward to conquest and glory, with 
out bestowing a smile on the humble drudge that fa 
cilitates their progress. Every other author may as 
pire to praise ; the lexicographer can only hope to es 
cape reproach, and even this negative recompence has 
been yet granted to very few. 

I have, notwithstanding this discouragement, at 
tempted a Dictionary of the English language, which, 


while it was employed in the cultivation of every 
species of literature, has itself been hitherto neglected ; 
suffered to spread, under the direction of chance, into 
wild exuberance; resigned to the tyranny of time and 
fashion; and exposed to the corruptions of ignorance, 
and caprices of innovation. 

When I took the first survey of my undertaking, 
I found our speech copious without order, and ener 
getic without rule: wherever I turned my view, 
there was perplexity to be disentangled, and confu 
sion to be regulated ; choice was to be made out of 
boundless variety, without any established principle of 
selection; adulterations were to be detected, without 
a settled test of purity; and modes of expression to 
be rejected or received, without the suffrages of any 
writers of classical reputation or acknowledged au 

Having therefore no assistance but from general 
grammar, I applied myself to the perusal of our 
writers ; and noting whatever might be of use to as 
certain or illustrate any word or phrase, accumulated 
in time the materials of a dictionary, which, by de 
grees, I reduced to method, establishing to myself, in 
the progress of the work, such rules as experience and 
analogy suggested to me ; experience, which practice 
and observation were continually increasing ; and ana 
logy, which, though in some words obscure, was evi 
dent in others. 

In adjusting the Orthography, which has been to 
this time unsettled and fortuitous, I found it neces 
sary to distinguish those irregularities that are in 
herent in our tongue, and perhaps coeval with it, 


from others which the ignorance or negligence of 
later writers has produced. Every language has its 
anomalies, which, though inconvenient, and in them 
selves once unnecessary, must be tolerated among the 
imperfections of human things, and which require only 
to be registered, that they may not be increased, and 
ascertained, that they may not be confounded: but 
every language has likewise its improprieties and ab 
surdities, which it is the duty of the lexicographer to 
correct or proscribe. 

As language was at its beginning merely oral, all 
words of necessary or common use were spoken be 
fore they were written; and while they were unfixed 
by any visible signs, must have been spoken with 
great diversity, as we now observe those who cannot 
read to catch sounds imperfectly, and utter them 
negligently. When this wild and barbarous jargon 
was first reduced to an alphabet, every penman endea 
voured to express, as he could, the sounds which he 
was accustomed to pronounce or to receive, and vi 
tiated in writing such words as were already vitiated 
in speech. The powers of the letters, when they 
were applied to a new language, must have been 
vague and unsettled, and therefore different hands 
would exhibit the same sound by different combina 

From this uncertain pronunciation arise in a great 
part the various dialects of the same country, which 
will always be observed to grow fewer, and less dif 
ferent, as books are multiplied ; and from this ar 
bitrary representation of sounds by letters, proceeds 
that diversity of spelling, observable in the Saxon re- 



mains, and I suppose in the first books of every na 
tion, which perplexes or destroys analogy, and pro 
duces anomalous formations, which being- once in 
corporated, can never be afterward dismissed or re 

Of this kind are the derivatives length from long, 
strength from strong, darling from dear, breadth from 
broad, from dry, drought, and from high, height* 
which Milton, in zeal for analogy, writes highth: 
Quid te exempta juvat spinis de pluribus una ? to 
change all would be too much, and to change one is 

This uncertainty is most frequent in the vowels, 
which are so capriciously pronounced, and so differently 
modified, by accident or affectation, not only in every 
province, but in every mouth, that to them, as is well 
known to etymologists, little regard is to be shewn in 
the deduction of one language from another. 

Such defects are not errors in orthography, but 
spots of barbarity impressed so deep in the English 
language, that criticism can never wash them away : 
these, therefore, must be permitted to remain un 
touched; but many words have likewise been altered 
by accident, or depraved by ignorance, as the pro 
nunciation of the vulgar has been weakly followed ; 
and some still continue to be variously written, as 
authors differ in their care or skill : of these it was 
proper to inquire the true orthography, which I have 
always considered as depending on their derivation, 
and have therefore referred them to their original 
languages: thus I write enchant, enchantment, en 
chanter, after the French, and incantation after tht 


Latin ; thus entire is chosen rather than intire, because 
it passed to us not from the Latin integer, but from 
the French entier. 

Of many words it is difficult to say whether they 
were immediately received from the Latin or the 
French, since at the time when we had dominions in 
France, we had Latin service in our churches. It is, 
however, my opinion, that the French generally sup 
plied us ; for we have few Latin words, among- the 
terms of domestic use, which are not French ; but 
many French, which are very remote from Latin. 

Even in words of which the derivation is apparent, 
I have been often obliged to sacrifice uniformity to 
custom; thus I write, in compliance with a number 
less majority, convey and inveigh, deceit and receipt, 
fancy and pJiantom ; sometimes the derivative varies 
from the primitive, as explain and explanation, repeat 
and repetition. 

Some combinations of letters having the same power, 
are used indifferently without any discoverable reason 
of choice, as \\\ choak, choke ; soap, sope ; fewel, fuel, 
and many others; which I have sometimes inserted 
twice, that those who search for them under either 
form, may not search in vain. 

In examining the orthography of any doubtful 
word, the mode of spelling by which it is inserted in 
the series of the dictionary, is to be considered as 
that to which I give, perhaps not often rashly, the 
preference. I have left, in the examples, to every 
author his own practice unmolested, that the reader 
may balance suffrages, and judge between us: but 
this question is not always to be determined by re 
puted or by real learning; some men, intent upon 

D 2 


greater things, have thought little on sounds and de 
rivations; some, knowing in the ancient tongues, have 
neglected those in which our words are commonly to 
be sought. Thus Hammond writes fecibleness, for fea 
sibleness, because I suppose he imagined it derived 
immediately from the Latin; and some words, such 
as dependant, dependent; dependance, dependence, 
vary their final syllable, as one or other knguage is 
present to the writer. 

In this part of the work, where caprice has long 
wantoned without control, and vanity sought praise 
by petty reformation, I have endeavoured to pro 
ceed with a scholar's reverence for antiquity, and a 
grammarian's regard to the genius of our tongue. I 
have attempted few alterations, and among those 
few, perhaps the greater part is from the modern to 
the ancient practice; and I hope I may be allowed 
to recommend to those, whose thoughts have been 
perhaps employed too anxiously on verbal singula 
rities, not to disturb, upon narrow views, or for 
minute propriety, the orthography of their fathers. 
It has been asserted, that for the law to be known, is 
of more importance than to be right. ' Change/ says 
Hooker, ' is not made without inconvenience, even 
from worse to better/ There is in constancy and 
stability a general and lasting advantage, which will 
always overbalance the slow improvements of gradual 
correction. Much less ought our written language 
to comply witkthe corruptions of oral utterance, or 
copy that which every variation of time or place 
makes different from itself, and imitate those changes, 
which will again be changed, while imitation is em- 
ployed in observing them. 


This recommendation of steadiness and uniformity 
does not proceed from an opinion, that particular 
combinations of letters have much influence on hu 
man happiness ; or that truth may not be successful 
ly taught by modes of spelling* fanciful and errone 
ous: I am not yet so lost in lexicography, as to for 
get that words are the daughters of earth, and that 
things are the sons of heaven. Language is only the 
instrument of science, and words are but the signs of 
ideas: I wish, however, that the instrument might 
be less apt to decay, and that signs might be perma 
nent, like the things which they denote. 

In settling the orthography, I have not wholly 
neglected the pronunciation, which I have directed, 
by printing an accent upon the acute or elevated syl 
lable. It will sometimes be found, that the accent 
is placed by the author quoted, on a different syl 
lable from that marked in the alphabetical series; ft 
is then to be understood, that custom has varied, or 
that the author has, in my opinion, pronounced 
wrong. Short directions are sometimes given where 
the sound of letters is irregular; and if they are 
sometimes omitted, defect in such minute obser 
vations will be more easily excused, than super 

In the investigation both of the orthography and 
signification of words, their Etymology was necessarily 
to be considered, and they were therefore to be di 
vided into primitives and derivatives. A primitive 
word is that which can be traced no further to any 
English root ; thus circumspect, circumvent, circum 
stance, delude, concave, and complicate, though com 
pounds in the Latin, are to us primitives. Deriva- 


lives, are all those that can be referred to any word 
in English of greater simplicity. 

The derivatives I have referred to their primitives, 
with an accuracy sometimes needless ; for who does 
not see that remoteness comes from remote, lovely from 
love, concavity from concave, and demonstrative from 
demonstrate? But this grammatical exuberance the 
scheme of my work did not allow me to repress. It 
is of great importance, in examining the general 
fabric of a language, to trace one word from another, 
by noting the usual modes of derivation and inflection; 
and uniformity must be preserved in systematical works, 
though sometimes at the expence of particular pro 

Among other derivatives I have been careful to 
insert and elucidate the anomalous plurals of nouns 
and preterites of verbs, which in the Teutonic dialects 
are very frequent, and, though familiar to those who 
have always used them, interrrupt and embarrass the 
learners of our language. 

The two languages from which our primitives have 
been derived are the Roman and the Teutonic : under 
the Roman I comprehend the French and provincial 
tongues ; and under the Teutonic range the Saxon, 
German, and all their kindred dialects. Most of our 
polysyllables are Roman, and our words of one syllable 
are very often Teutonic. 

In assigning the Roman original, it has perhaps 
sometimes happened that I have mentioned only the 
Latin, when the word was borrowed from the French; 
and considering myself as employed only in the il 
lustration of my own language, I have not been 
very careful to observe whether the Latin word be 


pure or barbarous, or the French elegant or ob 

For the Teutonic etymologies, I am commonly in 
debted to Junius and Skinner, the only -names which 
I have forborne to quote when I copied their books ; 
not that I might appropriate their labours or usurp 
their honours, but that I might spare a perpetual re 
petition by one general acknowledgment. Of these, 
whom I ought not to mention but with the reve 
rence due to instructors and benefactors, Junius ap 
pears to have excelled in extent of learning, and 
Skinner in rectitude of understanding. Junius was 
accurately skilled in all the northern languages, Skin 
ner probably examined the ancient and remoter dia 
lects only by occasional inspection into dictionaries; 
but the learning of Junius is often of no other use 
than to shew him a track by which he may deviate 
from his purpose, to which Skinner always presses for 
ward by the shortest way. Skinner is often ignorant, 
but never ridiculous : Junius is always full of know 
ledge; but his variety distracts his judgment, and 
his learning is very frequently disgraced by his ab 

The votaries of the northern muses will not per 
haps easily restrain their indignation, when they find 
the name of Junius thus degraded by a disadvanta 
geous comparison ; but whatever reverence is due to 
his diligence, or his attainments, it can be no cri 
minal degree of censor iousness to charge that etymo 
logist with want of judgment, who can seriously 
derive dream from drama, because life is a drama 9 
and a drama is a dream ; and who declares with a 
tone of defiance, that no man can fail to derive 


moan from juoi/o?, monos, single or solitary, who con 
siders that grief naturally loves to be alone*. 

Our knowledge of the northern literature is so 
scanty, that of words undoubtedly Teutonic, the 
original is not always to be found in any ancient Ian- 

* That I may not appear to have spoken too irreverently of 
Junius, I have here subjoined a few specimens of his etymological 

BANISH, religare, ex banno vel territorio exigere, in exilium agere. 
G. bannir. It. bandire, bandeggiare. H. bandir. B. bannen. 
M\i medii scriptores bannire dicebant. V. Spelm. in Bannum 
& in Baoleuga. Quoniam vero regionum urbiumq; limites 
arduis plerumq; montibus, altis fluminibus, longis deniq; flexuo- 
sisq; angustissim.arum viarum amfractibus includebantur, fieri 
potest id genus limites ban dici ab eo quod Bwwarat & BavvaTgoi 
Tarentinis olim, sicuti tradit Hesychius, vocabantur n l Xo|6t xal 
fj.ii ISvwus Uot, " obliquae ac minime in rectum tendentes viae." 
Ac fortasse quoque hue facit quod B^vfc;, eodem Hesychio teste, 
dicebant gi rgayyuxn, montes arduos. 

EMPTY, emtie, vacuus, inanis. A. S. ^Emris Nescio an sint 
ab s>w vel t**lafa. Vomo, evomo, vomitu evacuo. Videtur interim 
etymologiam hanc non obscure firmare codex Rush. Mat. xii. 22. 
ubi antique scriptum invenimus semoeteb hit emfrtis. " Inveuit 
earn vacantem." 

HILL, mons, collis. A. S. hyll. Quod videri potest abscissum 
ex *oxw, vel xof. Collis, tumulus, locus in piano editior. 

Hom. II. b. V. 811. *; M rt; vgo^otdi veXto$> ancUct, xoX^yij. Ubi 

authori brevium scholiorum **^n e xp. 

NAP, to take a nap. Dormire, condorrniscere. Gym. heppian. 
A. S. hna3ppan. Quod postremum videri potest desumptum ex 

'**t, obscuritas, tenebr^ : nihil enim que solet conciliare somnum, 
quam caligmosa profundae noctis obscuritas. 

STAMMERER, Balbus, bla3sus. Goth. STAMMS. A. S. rtamen, 

rramun. D. stam. B. stameler. Su. stamma. Isl. stamr. Sunt 

v vel r^xxav, nimi(L i oquacitate aliog offendere; d 

impedite loquentes libentissime garrire soleant; vel quod aliis nimii 

semper videantur, etiam parcissime loquentes. 


guage -, and I have therefore inserted Dutch or Ger 
man substitutes, which I consider not as radical, 
but parallel, not as the parents, but sisters of the 

The words which are represented as thus related 
by descent or cognation, do not always agree in sense ; 
for it is incident to words, as to their authors, to de 
generate from their ancestors, and to change their 
manners when they change their country. It is 
sufficient, in etymological inquiries, if the senses of 
kindred words be found such as may easily pass into 
each other, or such as may both be referred to one 
general idea. 

The etymology, so far as it is yet known, was 
easily found in the volumes, where it is particularly 
and professedly delivered ; and, by proper attention 
to the rules of derivation, the orthography was soon 
adjusted. But to collect the Words of our language 
was a task of greater difficulty : the deficiency of 
dictionaries was immediately apparent ; and when 
they were exhausted, what was yet wanting must be 
sought by fortuitous and unguided excursions into 
books, and gleaned as industry should find, or 
chance should offer it, in the boundless chaos of a 
living speech. My search, however, has been either 
skilful or lucky ; for I have much augmented the 

As my design was a dictionary, common or ap 
pellative, I have omitted all words which have re 
lation to proper names ; such as Arian, Socinian, 
Calvinist, Benedictine, Mahometan; but have re 
tained those of. a more general nature, as Heathen, 


Of the terms of art, I have received such as could 
be found either in books of science or technical 
dictionaries ; and have often inserted, from philoso 
phical writers, words which are supported perhaps 
only by a single authority, and which being- not ad 
mitted into general use, stand yet as candidates or 
probationers, and must depend for their adoption on 
the suffrage of futurity. 

The words which our authors have introduced by 
their knowledge of foreign languages, or ignorance 
of their own, by vanity or wantonness, by compli 
ance with fashion or lust of innovation, I have re 
gistered as they occurred, though commonly only 
to censure them, and warn others against the folly 
of naturalizing useless foreigners to the injury of the 

I have not rejected any by design, merely because 
they were unnecessary or exuberant ; but have re 
ceived those which by different writers have been 
differently formed, as viscid, and viscidity, viscous, 
and viscosity. 

Compounded or double words I have seldom noted, 
except when they obtain a signification different from 
that which the components have in their simple state. 
Thus highwayman, woodman, and horsecourser, re 
quire an explanation ; but of thieflike or coachdriver 
no notice was needed, because the primitives contain 
the meaning of the compounds. 

Words arbitrarily.formed by a constant and settled 
analogy, like diminutive adjectives in ish, as greenish, 
bluish ; adverbs in ly, as dully, openly ; substantives 
in nesg, as vileness, faultiness ; were less diligently 
sought, and many sometimes have been omitted, when 


I had no authority that invited me to insert them ; 
not that they are not genuine and regular offsprings 
of English roots, but because their relation to the pri 
mitive being always the same, their signification can 
not be mistaken. 

The verbal nouns in ing, such as the keeping of the 
castle, the leading of the army, are always neglected, 
or placed only to illustrate the sense of the verb, ex 
cept when they signify things as well as actions, and 
have therefore a plural number, as dwelling, living ; 
or have an absolute and abstract signification, as 
colouring, painting, learning. 

The participles are likewise omitted, unless, by 
signifying rather habit or quality than action, they 
take the nature of adjectives ; as a thinking man, a 
man of prudence ; a pacing horse, a horse that can 
pace : these I have ventured to call participial adjec 
tives. But neither are these always inserted, because 
they are commonly to be understood, without any 
danger of mistake, by consulting the verb. 

Obsolete words are admitted, when they are found 
in authors not obsolete, or when they have any force 
or beauty that may deserve revival. 

As composition is one of the chief characteristics of 
a language, I have endeavoured to make some repara 
tion for the universal negligence of my predecessors, 
by inserting great numbers of compounded words, as 
may be found under after, fore, new, night, fair, and 
many more. These, numerous as they are, might be 
multiplied, but that use and curiosity are here satis 
fied, and the frame of our language and modes of our 
combination amply discovered. 


Of some forms of composition, such as that by 
which re is prefixed to note repetition, and un to sig 
nify contrariety or privation, all the examples cannot 
be accumulated, because the use of these particles, if 
not wholly arbitrary, is so little limited, that they are 
hourly affixed to new words as occasion requires, or is 
imagined to require them. 

There is another kind of composition more fre 
quent in our language than perhaps in any other, 
from which arises to foreigners the greatest difficulty. 
We modify the signification of many verbs by a par 
ticle subjoined -, as to come off, to escape by a fetch ; 
to fall on, to attack ; to fall off, to apostatize ; to 
break off, to stop abruptly ; to bear out, to justify > to 
fall in, to comply ; to give over, to cease ; to set off, to 
embellish ; to set in, to begin a continual tenor ; 
to set out, to begin a course or journey ; to take off, 
to copy ; with innumerable expressions of the same 
kind, of which some appear wildly irregular, being 
so far distant from the sense of the simple words, that 
no sagacity will be able to trace the steps by which 
they arrived at the present use. These I have noted 
( with great care ; and though I cannot flatter myself 
that the collection is complete, I believe I have so far 
assisted the students of our language, that this kind 
of phraseology will be no longer insuperable ; and the 
combinations of verbs and particles, by chance omit 
ted, will be easily explained by comparison with those 
that may be found. 

Many words yet stand supported only by the [name 

of Bailey, Ainsworth, Philips, or the contracted Diet. 

for Dictionaries subjoined ; of these I am not always 

certain that they are read in any book but the works 



of lexicographers. Of such I have omitted many, 
because I had never read them ; and many I have in 
serted, because they may perhaps exist, though they 
have escaped my notice : they are, however, to be yet 
considered as resting only upon the credit of former 
dictionaries. Others, which I considered as useful, 
or know to be proper, though I could not at present 
support them by authorities, I have suffered to stand 
upon my own attestation, claiming the same privilege 
with my predecessors, of being sometimes credited 
without proof. 

The words, thus selected and disposed, are gram 
matically considered ; they are referred to the differ 
ent parts of speech; traced, when they are irre 
gularly inflected, through their various termina 
tions ; and illustrated by observations, not indeed of 
great or striking importance, separately considered, 
but necessary to the elucidation of our language, 
and hitherto neglected or forgotten by English gram 

That part of my work on which I expect malig 
nity most frequently to fasten, is the explanation j in 
which I cannot hope to satisfy those, who are per 
haps not inclined to be pleased, since I have not al 
ways been able to satisfy myself. To interpret a 
language by itself is very difficult ; many words can 
not be explained by synonymes, because the idea 
signified by them has not more than one appellation ; 
nor by paraphrase, because simple ideas cannot be 
described. When the nature of things is unknown, 
or the notion unsettled and indefinite, and various 
in various minds, the words , by which such notions 
are conveyed, or such things denoted, will be am- 


big-nous and perplexed. And such is the fate of 
hapless lexicography, that not only darkness, but 
light, impedes and distresses it ; things may be not 
only too little, but too much known, to be happily il 
lustrated. To explain, requires the use of terms 
less abstruse than that which is to be explained, and 
such terms cannot always be found; for as nothing 
can be proved but by supposing something intuitively 
known, and evident without proof, so nothing can be 
defined but by the use of words too plain to admit a 

Other words there are, of which the sense is too 
subtle and evanescent to be fixed in a paraphrase ; 
such are all those which are by the grammarians 
termed expletives, and, in dead languages, are suffered 
to pass for empty sounds, of no other use than to fill a 
verse, or to modulate a period, but which are easily 
perceived in living tongues to have power and em 
phasis, though it be sometimes such as no other form 
of expression can convey. 

My labour has likewise been much increased by a 
class of verbs too frequent in the English language, 
of which the signification is so loose and general, the 
use so vague and indeterminate, and the senses de- 
torted so widely from the first idea, that it is hard to 
trace them through the maze of variation, to catch 
them on the brink of utter inanity, to circumscribe 
them by any limitations, or interpret them by any 
words of distinct and settled meaning; such are bear, 
break, come, cast, full, get, give, do, put, set, go, 
run, make, take, turn, throw. If of these the whole 
power is not accurately delivered, it must be re 
membered, that while our language is yet living, 


and variable by the caprice of every one that speaks 
it, these words are hourly shifting- their relations, and 
can no more be ascertained in a dictionary, than a 
grove, in the agitation of a storm, can be accurately 
delineated from its picture in the water. 

The particles are among all nations applied with so 
great latitude, that they are not easily reducible under 
any regular scheme of explication : this difficulty is 
not less, nor perhaps greater, jn English, than in other 
languages. I have laboured them with diligence, I 
hope with success ; such at least as can be expected in 
a task, which no man, however learned or sagacious, 
has yet been able to perform. 

Some words there are which I cannot explain, be 
cause I do not understand them ; these might have 
been omitted very often with little inconvenience,, 
but I would not so far indulge my vanity as to de 
cline this confession : for when Tully owns himself 
ignorant whether lessus, in the twelve tables, means 
a funeral song, or mourning garment ; and Aristotle 
doubts whether oufju?, in the Iliad, signifies a mule, or 
muleteer, I may surely, without shame, leave some 
obscurities to happier industry, or future informa 

The rigour of interpretative lexicography requires 
that the explanation, and the word explained, should 
be always reciprocal ; this I have always endeavoured, 
but could not always attain. Words are seldom ex 
actly synonymous ; a new term was not introduced, 
but because the former was thought inadequate : 
names, therefore, have often many ideas, but few 
ideas have many names. It was then necessary to 
use the proximate word, for the deficiency of single 


terms can very seldom be supplied by circumlocii* 
tion ; nor is the inconvenience great of such mutilat 
ed interpretations, because the sense may easily be 
collected entire from the examples. 

In every word of extensive use, it was requisite to 
mark the progress of its meaning, and shew by what 
gradations of intermediate sense it has passed from 
its primitive to its remote and accidental significa 
tion; so that every foregoing explanation should tend 
to that which follows, and the series be regularly con 
catenated from the first notion to the last. 

This is specious, but not always practicable ; 
kindred senses may be so interwoven, that the per 
plexity cannot be disentangled, nor any reason be 
assigned why one should be ranged before the other. 
When the radical idea branches out into parallel 
ramifications, how can a consecutive series be formed 
of senses in their nature collateral ? The shades of 
meaning sometimes pass imperceptibly into each 
other, so that though on one side they apparently 
differ, yet it is impossible to mark the point of con 
tact. Ideas of the same race, though not exactly 
alike, are sometimes so little different, that no words 
can express the dissimilitude, though the mind easily 
perceives it, when they are exhibited together ; and 
sometimes there is such a confusion of acceptations, 
that discernment F is wearied, and distinction puzzled, 
and perseverance herself hurries to an end by crowd 
ing together what she cannot separate. 

These complaints of difficulty will by those that 
have never considered words beyond their popular 
use, be thought only 1 the jargon of a man willing to 
magnify his labours, and procure veneration to his 


studies by involution and obscurity. But every art 
is obscure to those that have not learned it : this un 
certainty of terms, and commixture of ideas, is well 
known to those who have joined philosophy with 
grammar \ and if I have not expressed them very 
clearly, it must be remembered that I am speaking 
of that which words are insufficient to explain. 

The original sense of words is often driven out of 
use by their metaphorical acceptations, yet must be 
inserted for the sake of a regular origination. Thus 
I know not whether ardour is used for material heat, 
or whether flagrant, in English, ever signifies the same 
with burning ; yet such are the primitive ideas of 
these words, which are therefore set first, though with 
out examples, that the figurative senses may be com- 
modiously deduced. 

Such is the exuberance of signification which many 
words have obtained, that it was scarcely possible to 
collect all their senses ; sometimes the meaning of 
derivatives must be sought in the mother term, and 
sometimes deficient explanations of the primitive 
may be supplied in the train of derivation. In any 
case of doubt or difficulty, it will be always proper 
to examine all the words of the same race \ for some 
words are slightly passed over to avoid repetition, 
some admitted easier and "clearer explanation than 
others, and all will be better understood, as they 
are considered in greater variety of structures and 

All the interpretations of words are not written 
with the same skill, or the same happiness : things 
equally easy in themselves, are not allequally easy 
to any single mind. Every writer of a long work 



commits errors, where there appears neither ambi 
guity to mislead, nor obscurity to confound him; 
and in a search like this, many felicities of expres 
sion will be casually overlooked, many convenient 
parallels will be forgotten, and many particulars will 
admit improvement from a mind utterly unequal to 
the whole performance. 

But many seeming faults are to be imputed rather 
to the nature of the undertaking, than the negli 
gence of the performer. Thus some explanations 
are unavoidably reciprocal or circular, as hind, the 
female of the staff; staff, the male of the hind: some 
times easier words are changed into harder, as burial 
into sepulture or interment, drier into desiccative, 
dryness into siccity or aridity, fit into paroxysm ; for 
the easiest word, whatever it be, can never be trans 
lated into one more easy. But easiness and difficulty 
are merely relative; and if the present prevalence of 
our language should invite foreigners to this Dic 
tionary, many will be assisted by those words which 
now seem only to increase or produce obscurity. For 
this reason I have endeavoured frequently to join a 
Teutonic and Roman interpretation, as to cheer, to 
gladden, or exhilarate, that every learner of English 
may be assisted by his own tongue. 

The solution of all difficulties, and the supply of all 
defects, must be sought in the examples, subjoined 
to the various senses of each word, and ranged ac 
cording to the time of their authors. 

When I first collected these authorities, I was 
desirous that every quotation should be useful to 
some other end than the illustration of a word ; I 
therefore extracted from philosophers principles of 


science; from historians remarkable facts; from 
chymists complete processes; from divines striking 
exhortations; and from poets beautiful descriptions. 
Such is design, while it is yet at a distance from 
execution. When the time called upon me to 
range this accumulation of elegance and wisdom 
into an alphabetical series, I soon discovered that 
the bulk of my volumes would fright away the 
student, and was forced to depart from my scheme 
of including all that was pleasing or useful in English 
literature, and reduce my transcripts very often to 
clusters of words, in which scarcely any meaning is 
retained; thus to the weariness of copying, I was 
condemned to add the vexation of expunging. Some 
passages I have yet spared, which may relieve the 
labour of verbal searches, and intersperse with ver 
dure and flowers the dusty deserts of barren phi 

The examples, thus mutilated, are no longer to 
be considered as conveying the sentiments or doc 
trine of their authors ; the word for the sake of 
which they are inserted, with all its appendant 
clauses, has been carefully preserved; but it may 
sometimes happen, by hasty detruncation, that the 
general tendency of the sentence may be changed : 
the divine may desert his tenets, or the philosopher 
his system. 

Some of the examples have been taken from 
writers who were never mentioned as masters of 
elegance, or models of style ; but words must be 
sought where they are used; and in what pages, 
eminent for purity, can terms of manufacture or 
agriculture be found? Many quotations serve no 

E 2 


other purpose than that of proving- the bare existence 
of words, and are therefore selected with less scrupu 
lousness than those which are to teach their structures 
and relations. 

My purpose was to admit no testimony of living 
authors, that I might not be misled by partiality, 
and that none of my cotemporaries might have rea 
son to complain ; nor have I departed from this re 
solution, but when some performance of uncommon 
excellence excited my veneration, when my memory 
supplied me, from late books, with an example that 
was wanting*, or when my heart, in the tenderness of 
friendship, solicited admission for a favourite name. 

So far have I been from any care to grace my 
pages with modern decorations, that I have studi 
ously endeavoured to collect examples and authori 
ties from the writers before the restoration, whose 
works I regard as the wells of English undefiled, as 
the pure sources of genuine diction. Our language, 
for almost a century, has, by the concurrence of 
many causes, been gradually departing from its 
original Teutonic character, and deviating towards 
a Gallic structure and phraseology, from which it 
ought to be our endeavour to recal it, by making 
our ancient volumes the ground- work of style, ad 
mitting among the additions of later times, only such 
as may supply real deficiencies, >such as are readily 
adopted by the genius of our tongue, and incorporate 
easily with our native idioms. 

But as every language has a time of rudeness ante 
cedent to perfection, as well as of false refinement 
and declension, I have been cautious lest my zeal 
for antiquity might drive me into times too remote, 


and crowd my book with words now no longer un 
derstood. I have fixed Sidney's work for the bounda 
ry, beyond which I make few excursions. From the 
authors which rose in the time of Elizabeth, a speech 
might be formed adequate to all the purposes of use 
and elegance. If the language of theology were ex 
tracted from Hooker and the translation of the Bible; 
the terms of natural knowledge from Bacon; the 
phrases of policy, war, and navigation from Raleigh ; 
the dialect of poetry and fiction from Spenser and Sid 
ney ; and the diction of common life from Shakespeare, 
few ideas would be lost to mankind, for want of English 
words, in which they might be expressed. 

It is not sufficient that a word is found, unless it 
be so combined as that its meaning is apparently de 
termined by the tract and tenor of the sentence; such 
passages I have therefore chosen, and when it hap 
pened that any author gave a definition of a term, 
or such an explanation as is equivalent to a definition, 
I have placed his authority as a supplement to my 
own, without regard to the chronological order, that 
is otherwise observed. 

Some words, indeed, stand unsupported by any au 
thority, but they are commonly derivative nouns or 
adverbs, formed from their primitives by regular and 
constant analogy, or names of things seldom occurring 
in books, or words of which I have reason to doubt 
the existence. 

There is more danger of censure from the mul 
tiplicity than paucity of examples; authorities will 
sometimes seem to have been accumulated without 
necessity or use, and perhaps some will be found, 
which might, without loss, have been omitted. 


But a work of this kind is not hastily to be charged 
with superfluities : those quotations, which to care 
less or unskilful perusers appear only to repeat the 
same sense, will often exhibit, to a more accurate ex 
aminer, diversities of signification, or, at least, afford 
different shades of the same meaning : one will shew 
the word applied to persons, another to things ; one 
will express an ill, another a good, and a third a 
neutral sense; one will prove the expression genuine 
from an ancient author; another will shew it elegant 
from a modern : a doubtful authority is corroborated 
by another of more credit; an ambiguous sentence 
is ascertained by a passage clear and determinate : the 
word, how often soever repeated, appears with new 
associates and in different combinations, and every 
quotation contributes something to the stability or en 
largement of the language. 

When words are used equivocally, I receive them 
in either sense; when they are metaphorical, I adopt 
them in their primitive acceptation. 

I have sometimes, though rarely, yielded to the 
temptation of exhibiting a genealogy of sentiments, 
by shewing how one author copied the thoughts and 
diction of another: such quotations are indeed little 
more than repetitions, which might justly be censured, 
did they not gratify the mind, by affording a kind of 
intellectual history. 

The various syntactical structures occurring in the 
examples have been carefully noted; the licence or 
negligence with which many words have been 
hitherto used, has made our style capricious and in 
determinate; when the different combinations of the 
same word are exhibited together, the preference is 



readily given to propriety, and I have often endea 
voured to direct the choice. 

Thus have I laboured by settling the orthography, 
displaying- the analogy, regulating the structures, and 
ascertaining the signification of English words, to per 
form all the parts of a faithful lexicographer : but I 
have not always executed my own scheme, or satis 
fied my own expectations. The work, whatever 
proofs of diligence and attention it may exhibit, 
is yet capable of many improvements: the ortho 
graphy which I recommend is still controvertible ; 
the etymology which I adopt is uncertain, and perhaps 
frequently erroneous; the explanations are sometimes 
too much contracted, and sometimes too much dif 
fused, the significations are distinguished rather with 
subtilty than skill, and the attention is harassed with 
unnecessary minuteness. 

The examples are too often injudiciously truncated, 
and perhaps sometimes, I hope very rarely, alleged 
in a mistaken sense ; for in making this collection I 
trusted more to memory, than, in a state of disquiet 
and embarrassment, memory can contain, and pur 
posed to supply at the review what was left incomplete 
in the first transcription. 

Many terms appropriated to particular occupa 
tions, though necessary and significant, are undoubt 
edly omitted; and of the words most studiously con 
sidered and exemplified, many senses have escaped ob 

Yet these failures, however frequent, may admit 
extenuation and apology. To have attempted 
much is always laudable, even when the enterprise 


is above the strength that undertakes it: To rest 
below his own aim is incident to every one whose 
fancy is active, and whose views are comprehensive ; 
nor is any man satisfied with himself because he 
has done much, but because he can conceive little. 
When first I engaged in this work, I resolved to 
leave neither words nor things unexamined, and 
pleased myself with a prospect of the hours which I 
should revel away in feasts of literature, the obscure 
recesses of northern learning which I should enter 
and ransack, the treasures with which I expected 
every search into those neglected mines to reward 
my labour, and the triumph with which I should 
display my acquisitions to mankind. When I had 
thus inquired into the original of words, I resolved 
to shew likewise my attention to things; to pierce 
deep into every science, to inquire the nature of 
every substance of which I inserted the name, to 
limit every idea by a definition strictly logical, and 
exhibit every production of art or nature in an ac 
curate description, that my book might be in place 
of all other dictionaries whether appellative or techni 
cal. But these were the dreams of a poet doomed 
at last to wake a lexicographer. I soon found that 
it is too late to look for instruments, when the work 
calls for execution, and that whatever abilities I had 
brought to my task, with those I must finally per 
form it. To deliberate whenever I doubted, to in 
quire whenever I was ignorant, would have pro 
tracted the undertaking without end, and, perhaps, 
without much improvement; for I did not find by 
my first experiments, that what I had not of my own 


was easily to be obtained : I saw that one inquiry 
only gave occasion to another, that book referred to 
book, that to search was not always to find, and to 
find was not always to be informed ; and that thus 
to pursue perfection, was, like the first inhabitants 
of Arcadia, to chase the sun, which, when they had 
reached the hill where he seemed to rest, was still 
beheld at the same distance from them. 

I then contracted my design, determining to con 
fide in myself, and no longer to solicit auxiliaries, 
which produced more incumbrance than assistance; by 
this I obtained at least one advantage, that I set limits 
to my work, which would in time be ended, though 
not completed. 

Despondency has never so far prevailed as to de 
press me to negligence; some faults will at last ap- 
pear to be the effects of anxious diligence and per 
severing activity. The nice and subtle ramifications 
of meaning were not easily avoided by a mind intent 
upon accuracy, and convinced of the necessity of dis 
entangling combinations, and separating similitudes. 
Many of the distinctions which to common readers ap 
pear useless and idle, will be found real and important 
by men versed in the school philosophy, without 
which no dictionary can ever be accurately compiled, 
or skilfully examined. 

Some senses however there are, which, though 
not the same, are yet so nearly allied, that they are 
often confounded. Most men think indistinctly, 
and therefore cannot speak with exactness ; and con 
sequently some examples might be indifferently put 
to either signification : this uncertainty is not to be 
imputed to me, who do not form, but register the 


language; who do not teach men how they should 
think, but relate how they have hitherto expressed 
their thoughts. 

The imperfect sense of some examples I lamented, 
but could not remedy, and hope they will be com 
pensated by innumerable passages selected with pro 
priety, and preserved with exactness ; some shining 
with sparks of imagination, and some replete with 
treasures of wisdom. 

The orthography and etymology, though imper 
fect, are not imperfect for want of care, but because 
care will not always be successful, and recollection or 
information come too late for use. 

That many terms of art and manufacture are 
omitted, must be frankly acknowledged; but for 
this defect I may boldly allege that it was unavoid 
able : I could not visit caverns to learn the miner's 
language, nor take a voyage to perfect my skill in 
the dialect of navigation, nor visit the warehouses 
of merchants, and shops of artificers, to gain the 
names of wares, tools and operations, of which no 
mention is found in books; what favourable acci 
dent, or easy inquiry brought within my reach, has 
uot been neglected; but it had been a hopeless 
labour to glean up words, by courting living infor 
mation, and contesting with the sullenness of one, and 
the roughness of another 

To furnish the academicians della Crusca with 
words of this kind, a series of comedies called la 
Fiera, or the Fair, was professedly written by Buon- 
aroti ; but I had no such assistant, and therefore was 
content to want what they must have wanted like 
wise, had they not luckily been so supplied. 


Nor are all words which are not found in the vo 
cabulary, to be lamented as omissions. Of the 
laborious and mercantile part of the people, the 
diction is in a great measure casual and mutable; 
many of their terms are formed for some temporary 
or local convenience, and though current at certain 
times and places, are in others utterly unknown. 
This fugitive cant, which is always in a state of in 
crease or decay, cannot be regarded as any part of 
the durable materials of a language, and therefore 
must be suffered to perish with other things unworthy 
of preservation. 

Care will sometimes betray to the appearance of 
negligence. He that is catching opportunities which 
seldom occur, will suffer those to pass by unre 
garded, which he expects hourly to return ; he that 
is searching for rare and remote things, will neglect 
those that are obvious and familiar : thus many of 
the most common and cursory words have been in 
serted with little illustration, because in gathering the 
authorities, I forebore to copy those which I thought 
likely to occur whenever they were wanted. It is re 
markable that, in reviewing my collection, I found 
the word sea unexemplified. 

Thus it happens, that in things difficult there is 
danger from ignorance, and in things easy from con 
fidence ; the mind, afraid of greatness, and disdainful 
of littleness, hastily withdraws herself from painful 
searches, and passes with scornful rapidity over tasks 
not adequate to her powers, sometimes too secure for 
caution, and again too anxious for vigorous effort; 
sometimes idle in a plain path, and sometimes 


distracted in labyrinths, and dissipated by different 


A large work is difficult because it is large, even 
though all its parts might singly be performed with 
facility ; where there are many things to be done, 
each must be allowed its share of time and labour, in 
the proportion only which it bears to the whole ; nor 
can it be expected, that the stones which form the 
dome of a temple, should be squared and polished like 
the diamond of a ring. 

Of the event of this work, for which, having 
laboured it with so much application, I cannot but 
have some degree of parental fondness, it is natural 
to form conjectures. Those who have been per 
suaded to think well of iny design, will require that 
it should fix our language, and put a stop to those 
alterations which time and chance have hitherto 
been suffered to make in it without opposition. 
With this consequence I will confess that I flattered 
myself for a while; but now begin to fear that I 
have indulged expectation which neither reason nor 
experience can justify. When we see men grow old 
and die at a certain time one after another, from 
century to century, we laugh at the elixir that pro 
mises to prolong life to a thousand years ; and with 
equal justice may the lexicographer be derided, who 
being able to produce no example of a nation that has 
preserved their words and phrases from mutability, 
shall imagine that his dictionary can embalm his 
language, and secure it from corruption and decay, 
that it is in his power to change sublunary nature, and 
clear the world at once from folly, vanity, and affec 


With this hope, however, academies have been 
instituted, to guard the avenues of their languages, 
to retain fugitives, and repulse intruders ; but their 
vigilance and activity have hitherto been vain ; 
sounds are too volatile and subtile for legal restraints; 
to enchain syllables, and to lash the wind, are equally 
the undertakings of pride, unwilling to measure its 
desires by its strength. The French language has vi 
sibly changed under the inspection of the academy ; 
the style of Amelot's translation of Father Paul is ob 
served by Le Courayer to be un pen passe ; and no 
Italian will maintain, that the diction of any modern 
writer is not perceptibly different from that of Boccace, 
Machiavel, or Caro. 

Total and sudden transformations of a language 
seldom happen ; conquests and migrations are now r 
very rare: but there are other causes of change, 
which, though slow in their operation, and invisible 
in their progress, are perhaps as much superior to 
human resistance, as the revolutions of the sky, or in 
tumescence of the tide. Commerce, however neces 
sary, however lucrative, as it depraves the manners, 
corrupts the language ; they that have frequent in 
tercourse with strangers, to whom they endeavour to 
accommodate themselves, must in time learn a mingled 
dialect, like the jargon which serves the traffickers on 
the Mediterranean and Indian coasts. This will not 
always be confined to the exchange, the warehouse, 
or the port, but will be communicated by degrees to 
other ranks of the people, and be at last incorporated 
with the current speech. 

There are likewise internal causes equally forcible. 
The language most likely to continue long without 


alteration, would be that of a nation raised a little, 
and but a little, above barbarity, secluded from 
strangers, and totally employed in procuring the con- 
veniences of life ; either without books, or, like some 
of the Mahometan countries, with very few : men thus 
busied and unlearned, having only such words as com 
mon use requires, would perhaps long continue to ex 
press the same notions by the same signs. But no 
such constancy can be expected in a people polished 
by arts, and classed by subordination, where one part 
of the community is sustained and accommodated by 
the labour of the other. Those who have much leisure 
to think, will always be enlarging the stock of ideas ; 
and every increase of knowledge, whether real or 
fancied, will produce new words, or combinations of 
words. When the mind is unchained from necessity, 
it will range after convenience \ when it is left at 
large in the fields of speculation, it will shift opinions; 
as any custom is disused, the words that expressed it 
must perish with it \ as any opinion grows popular, 
it will innovate speech in the same proportion as it 
alters practice. 

As by the cultivation of various sciences, a lan 
guage is amplified, it will be more furnished with 
words deflected from their original sense ; the geo 
metrician will talk of a courier's zenith, or the 
eccentric virtue of a wild hero, and the physician 
of sanguine expectations and phlegmatic delays. Co 
piousness of speech will give opportunities to ca 
pricious choice, by which some words will be pre 
ferred, and others degraded ; vicissitudes of fashion 
will enforce the use of new, or extend the significa 
tion of known terms. The tropes of poetry will 


make hourly encroachments, and the metaphorical 
will become the current sense : pronunciation will 
be varied by levity or ignorance, and the pen must 
at length comply with the tongue ; illiterate writers 
will, at one time or other, by public infatuation, 
rise into renown, who, not knowing the original 
import of words, will use them with colloquial licen 
tiousness, confound distinction, and forget propriety. 
As politeness increases, some expressions will be con 
sidered as too gross and vulgar for the delicate, others 
as too formal and ceremonious for the gay and airy ; 
new phrases are therefore adopted, which must, for the 
same reasons, be in time dismissed. Swift, in his 
petty treatise on the English language, allows that 
new words must sometimes be introduced, but proposes 
that none should be suffered to become obsolete. But 
what makes a word obsolete, more than general agree 
ment to forbear it ? and how shall it be continued, 
when it conveys an offensive idea, or recalled again 
into the mouths of mankind, when it has once be 
come unfamiliar by disuse, and unpleasing by unfa- 
miliarity ? 

There is another cause of alteration more prevalent 
than any other, which yet in the present state of the 
world cannot be obviated. A mixture of two lan 
guages will produce a third distinct from both, and 
they will always be mixed, where the chief parts of 
education, and the most conspicuous accomplishment, 
is skill in ancient or in foreign tongues. He that has 
long cultivated another language, will find its words 
and combinations crowd upon his memory; and 
haste and negligence, refinement and affectation, 


will obtrude borrowed terms and exotic expres 

The great pest of speech is frequency of transla 
tion. No book was ever turned from one language 
into another, without imparting something of its na 
tive idiom ; this is the most mischievous and compre 
hensive innovation ; single words may enter by thou 
sands, and the fabric of the tongue continue the same ; 
but new phraseology changes much at once ; it 
alters not the single stones of the building, but the 
order of the columns. If an academy should be esta 
blished for the cultivation of our style ; which I, who 
can never wish to see dependence multiplied, hope 
the spirit of English liberty will hinder or destroy, 
let them, instead of compiling grammars and diction 
aries, endeavour, with all their influence, to stop the 
licence of translators, whose idleness and ignorance, 
if it be suffered to proceed, will reduce us to babble a 
dialect of France. 

If the changes that we fear be thus irresistible, 
what remains but to acquiesce with silence, as in the 
other insurmountable distresses of humanity ? It re 
mains that we retard what we cannot repel, that 
we palliate what we cannot cure. Life may be 
lengthened by care, though death cannot be ulti 
mately defeated : tongues, like governments, have a 
natural tendency to degeneration \ we have long pre 
served our constitution, let us make some struggles for 
our language. 

In hope of giving longevity to that which its own 
nature forbids to be immortal, I have devoted this 
book, the labour of years, to the honour of my 


country, that we may no longer yield the palm of 
philology, without a contest, to the nations of the 
continent. The chief glory of every people arises 
from its authors : whether I shall add any thing by 
my own writings to the reputation of English litera 
ture, must be left to time: much of my life has been 
lost under the pressures of disease; much has been 
trifled away ; and much has always been spent in 
provision for the day that was passing over me ; but 
I shall not think my employment useless or ignoble, 
if by my assistance foreign nations, and distant ages, 
gain access to the propagators of knowledge, and 
understand the teachers of truth; if my labours 
afford light to the repositories of science, and add ce 
lebrity to Bacon, to Hooker, to Milton, and to Boyle. 
When I am animated by this wish, I look with 
pleasure on my book, however defective, and deliver 
it to the world with the spirit of a man that has en 
deavoured well. That it will immediately become 
popular I have not promised to myself: a few wild 
blunders, and risible absurdities, from which no 
work of such multiplicity was ever free, may for a 
time furnish folly with laughter, and harden igno 
rance into contempt ; but useful diligence will at last 
prevail, and there never can be wanting some who 
distinguish desert ; who will consider that no diction 
ary of a living tongue ever can be perfect, since, 
while it is hastening to publication, some words are 
budding, and some falling away; that a whole life 
cannot be spent upon syntax and etymology, and 
that even a whole life would not be sufficient; that 
he, whose design includes whatever language can 
express, must often speak of what he does not un- 



derstand; that a writer will -sometimes be hurried 
by eagerness to the end, and sometimes faint with 
weariness under a task, which Scaliger compares to 
the labours of the anvil and the mine ; that what is 
obvious is not always known, and what is known i& 
not always present ; that sudden fits of inadvert 
ency will surprise vigilance, slight avocations will se 
duce attention, and casual eclipses of the mind will 
darken learning ; and that the writer shall often in 
vain trace his memory at the moment of need, for 
that which yesterday he knew with intuitive readiness, 
and which will come uncalled into his thoughts to 

In this work, when it shall be found that much is 
omitted, let it not be forgotten that much likewise 
is performed ; and though no book was ever spared 
out of tenderness to the author, and the world is 
little solicitous to know whence proceed the faults 
of that which it condemns ; yet it may gratify cu 
riosity to inform it, that the English Dictionary was 
written with little assistance of the learned, and with 
out any patronage of the great; not in the soft ob 
scurities of retirement, or under the shelter of aca 
demic bowers, but amidst inconvenience and dis 
traction, in sickness and in sorrow. It may repress 
the triumph of malignant criticism to observe, that 
if our language is not here fully displayed, I have 
only failed in an attempt which no human powers 
have hitherto completed. If the lexicons of ancient 
tongues, now immutably fixed, and comprised in 
a few volumes, be yet, after the toil of successive ages, 
inadequate and delusive ; if the aggregated know 
ledge, and co-operating diligence of the Italian aca- 


demicians, did not secure them from the censure of 
Beni ; if the embodied critics of France, when fifty 
years had been spent upon their work, were obliged 
to change its oeconomy, and give their second edition 
another form, I may surely be contented without the 
praise of perfection, which, if I could obtain, in this 
gloom of solitude, what would it avail me? I have 
protracted my work till most of those whom I wished 
to please have sunk into the grave, and success and 
miscarriage are empty sounds : I therefore dismiss it 
with frigid tranquillity, having little to fear or hope 
from censure or from praise. 






Printed in the Year 1756. 

W HEN the works of Shakespeare are, after so 
many editions, again offered to the Public, it will 
doubtless be inquired, why Shakespeare stands in more 
need of critical assistance than any other of the Eng 
lish writers, and what are the deficiencies of the late 
attempts, which another editor may hope to supply ? 

The business of him that republishes an ancient 
book is, to correct what is corrupt, and to explain 
what is obscure. To have a text corrupt in many 
places, and in many doubtful, is, among the au 
thors that have written since the use of types, al 
most peculiar to Shakespeare. Most writers, by pub 
lishing their own works, prevent all various read 
ings, and preclude all conjectural criticism. Books 
indeed are sometimes published after the death of 
him who produced them; but they are better se 
cured from corruption than these unfortunate compo- 


sitions. They subsist in a single copy, written or re 
vised by the author ; and the faults of the printed 
volume can be only faults of one descent. 

But of the works of Shakespeare the condition has 
been far different : he sold them, not to be printed, 
but to be played. They were immediately copied 
for the actors, and multiplied by transcript after 
transcript, vitiated by the blunders of the penman, 
or changed by the affectation of the player ; perhaps 
enlarged to introduce a jest, or mutilated to shorten 
the representation ; and printed at last without the 
concurrence of the author, without the consent of 
the proprietor, from compilations made by chance 
or by stealth out of the separate parts written for the 
theatre ; and thus thrust into the world surreptitiously 
and hastily, they suffered another depravation from the 
ignorance and negligence of the printers, as every man 
who knows the state of the press in that age will rea 
dily conceive. 

It is not easy for invention to bring together so 
many causes concurring to vitiate the text. No 
other author ever gave up his works to fortune and 
time with so little care : no books could be left in 
hands so likely to injure them, as plays frequently 
acted, yet continued in manuscript : no other tran 
scribers were likely to be so little qualified for their 
task as those who copied for the stage, at a time 
when the lower ranks of the people were universally 
illiterate : no other editions were made from frag 
ments so minutely broken, and so fortuitously re 
united ; and in no other age was the art of printing 
in such unskilful hands. 


With the causes of corruption that make the re- 
Visal of Shakespeare's dramatic pieces necessary, 
may be enumerated the causes of obscurity, which 
may be partly imputed to his age, and partly to 

When a writer outlives his contemporaries, and 
remains almost the only unforgotten name of a 
distant time, he is necessarily obscure. Every age 
has its modes of speech, and its cast of thought; 
which though easily explained when there are many 
books to be compared with each other, become 
sometimes unintelligible, and always difficult, when 
there are no parallel passages that may conduce to 
their illustration. Shakespeare is the first .considerable 
author of sublime or familiar dialogue, in our lan 
guage. Of the books which he read, and from which 
he formed his style, some perhaps have perished, and 
the rest are neglected. His imitations are therefore 
unnoted, his allusions are undiscovered, and many 
beauties, both of pleasantry and greatness, are lost 
with the objects to which they were united, as the 
figures vanish when the canvass has decayed. 

It is the great excellence of Shakespeare, that he 
drew his scenes from i>ature; and from life. He 
copied the manners of the world then passing before 
him, and has more allusions than other poets to the 
traditions and superstition of the vulgar ; which 
must therefore be traced before he can be under 

He wrote at a time when our poetical language 
was yet unformed, when the meaning of our phrases 
was yet in fluctuation, when words were adopted at 



pleasure from the neighbouring- languages, and while 
the Saxon was still visibly mingled in our diction. 
The reader is therefore embarrassed at once with 
dead and with foreign languages, with obsoleteness 
and innovation. In that age, as in all others, fashion 
produced phraseology, which succeeding fashion swept 
away before its meaning was generally known, or 
sufficiently authorized : and in that age, above all 
others, experiments were made upon our language, 
which distorted its combinations, and disturbed its 

If Shakespeare has difficulties above other writers, 
it is to be imputed to the nature of his work, which 
required the use of the common colloquial language, 
and consequently admitted many phrases allusive, 
elliptical, and proverbial, such as we speak and hear 
every hour without observing them ; and of which, 
being now familiar, we do not suspect that they can 
ever grow uncouth, or that, being now obvious, they 
can ever seefn remote. 

These are the principal causes of the obscurity of 
Shakespeare ; to which might be added the fulness of 
idea, which might sometimes load his words with 
more sentiment than they could conveniently convey, 
and that rapidity of imagination which might hurry 
him to a second thought before he had fully ex 
plained the first. But my opinion is, that very few 
of his lines were difficult to his audience, and that 
he used such expressions as were then common, 
though the paucity of contemporary writers makes 
them now seem peculiar. 

Authors are often praised for improvement, or 
blamed for innovation, with very little justice, by 


those who read few other books of the same age. Ad- 
dison himself has been so unsuccessful in enumerating 
the words with which Milton has enriched our lan 
guage, as perhaps not to have named one of which 
Milton was the author ; and Bentley has yet more un 
happily praised him as the introducer of those elisions 
into English poetry, which had been used from the 
first essays of versification among us, and which Mil 
ton was indeed the last that practised. 

Another impediment, not the least vexatious to 
the commentator, is the exactness with which Shake 
speare followed his authors. Instead of dilating 
his thoughts into generalities, and expressing in 
cidents with poetical latitude, he often combines 
circumstances unnecessary to his main design, only 
because he happened to find them together. Such 
passages can be illustrated only by him who has read 
the same story in the very book which Shakespeare 

He that undertakes an edition of Shakespeare,. has 
all these difficulties to encounter, and all these ob-, 
structions to remove. 

The corruptions of the text will be corrected by 
a careful collation of the oldest copies, by which it 
is hoped that many restorations may yet be made : at 
least it will be necessary to collect and note the va 
riation as materials for future critics; for it very 
often happens that a wrong reading has affinity to the 

In this part all the present editions are apparently 
and intentionally defective. The critics did not so 
much as wish to facilitate the labour of those that 
followed them. The same books are still to be 



compared ; the work that has been done, is to be 
done again ; and no single edition will supply the 
reader with a text on which he can rely as the best 
copy of the works of Shakespeare. 

The edition now proposed will at least have this 
advantage over others. It will exhibit all the ob 
servable varieties of all the copies that can be found ; 
that, if the reader is not satisfied with the editor's 
determination, he may have the means of choosing 
better for himself. 

Where all the books are evidently vitiated, and 
collation can give no assistance, then begins the 
task of critical sagacity : and some changes may 
Well be admitted in a text never settled by the 'au 
thor, and so long exposed to caprice and igno 
rance. But nothing shall be imposed, as in the 
Oxford edition, without notice of the alteration ; 
nor shall conjecture be wantonly or unnecessarily 

It has been long found, that very specious emen^ 
dations do not equally strike all minds with con 
viction, nor even the same mind at different times ; 
and therefore, though perhaps many alterations may 
be proposed as eligible, very few will be obtruded 
as certain. In a language so ungrammatical as the 
English, and so licentious as that of Shakespeare, emen- 
datory criticism is always hazardous ; nor can it be 
allowed to any man who is not particularly versed in 
the writings of that age, and particularly studious of 
his author's diction. There is danger lest peculiarities 
should be mistaken for corruptions, and passages re 
jected as unintelligible, which a narrow mind happens 
not to understand. 


All the former critics have been so much em 
ployed on the correction of the text, that they have 
not sufficiently attended to the elucidation of passages 
obscured by accident or time. The editor will en 
deavour to read the books which the author read, to 
trace his knowledge to its source, and compare his 
copies with their originals. If in this part of his de 
sign he hopes to attain any degree of superiority to 
his predecessors, it must be considered, that he has 
the advantage of their labours; that part of the work 
being already done, more care is naturally bestowed 
on the other part ; and that, to declare the truth, 
Mr. Rowe and Mr. Pope were very ignorant of the 
apcient English literature ; Dr. Warburton was de 
tained by more important studies ; and Mr. Theobald, 
if fame be just to his memory, considered learning 
only as an instrument of gain, and made no further 
inquiry after his author's meaning, when once he had 
notes sufficient to embellish his page with the ex 
pected decorations. 

With regard to obsolete or peculiar diction, the 
editor may perhaps claim some degree of confidence, 
having had more motives to consider the whole ex 
tent of our language than any other man from its 
first formation. He hopes that, by comparing the 
works of Shakespeare with those of writers who 
lived at the same time, immediately preceded, or 
immediately followed him, he shall be able to ascer 
tain his ambiguities, disentangle his intricacies, and 
recover the meaning of words now lost in the dark 
ness of antiquity. 

When therefore any obscurity arises from an al- 
Utsion to some other book, the passage will -be quoted. 


When the diction is entangled, it will be cleared 
by a paraphrase or interpretation. When the sense 
is broken by the suppression of part of the sentiment 
in pleasantry or passion, the connexion Will be sup 
plied. When any forgotten custom is hinted, care 
will be taken to retrieve and explain it. The mean 
ing assigned to doubtful words will be supported by 
the authorities of other writers, or by parallel passages 
of Shakespeare himself. 

The observation of faults and beauties is one of the 
duties of an annotator, which some of Shakespeare's 
editors have attempted, and some have neglected. 
For this part of his task, and for this only, was Mr. 
Pope eminently and indisputably qualified ; nor has 
Dr. Warburton followed him with less diligence or 
less success. But I have never observed that mankind 
was much delighted or improved by their asterisks, 
commas, or double commas ; of which the only effect 
is, that they preclude the pleasure of judging for our 
selves, teach the young and ignorant to decide with 
out principles ; defeat curiosity and discernment, by 
leaving them less to discover ; and at last shew the 
opinion of the critic, without the reasons on which it 
was founded, and without affording any light by 
which it may be examined. 

The editor, though he may less delight his own va 
nity, will probably please his reader more, by sup^ 
posing him equally able with himself to judge of beau 
ties and faults, which require no previous acquisition 
of remote knowledge. A description of the obvious 
scenes of nature, a representation of general life, a 
sentiment of reflection or experience, a deduction of 
conclusive arguments, a forcible eruption of efferves- 


cent passion, are to be considered as proportionate to 
common apprehension, unassisted by critical officious- 
ness -, since, to convince them, nothing- more is requi 
site than acquaintance with the general state of the 
world, and those faculties which he must always 
bring with him who would read Shakespeare. 

But when the beauty arises from some adaptation of 
the sentiment to customs worn out of use, to opinions 
not universally prevalent, or to any accidental or mi 
nute particularity, which cannot be supplied by com 
mon understanding 1 , or common observation, it is the 
duty of a commentator to lend his assistance. 

The notice of beauties and faults thus limited, will 
make no distinct part of the design, being- reducible 
to the explanation of obscure passages. 

The editor does not however intend to preclude 
himself from the comparison of Shakespeare's senti 
ments or expression with those of ancient or modern 
authors, or from the display of any beauty not obvious 
to the students of poetry ; for as he hopes to leave his 
author better understood, he wishes likewise to pro 
cure him more rational approbation. 

The former editors have affected to slight their pre 
decessors : but in this edition all that is valuable will 
be adopted from every commentator, that posterity 
may consider it as including all the rest, and exhibit 
ing whatever is hitherto known of the great father of 
the English drama. 



Published the Year 1768 

X HAT praises are without reason lavished on the 
dead, and that the honours due only to excellence are 
paid to antiquity, is a complaint likely to be always 
continued by those, who, being* able to add nothing 
to truth, hope for eminence from the heresies of para 
dox ; or those, who, being forced by disappointment 
upon consolatory expedients, are willing 1 to hope from 
posterity what the present age refuses, and flatter 
themselves that the regard, which is yet denied by 
envy, will be at last bestowed by time. 

Antiquity, like every other quality that attracts 
the notice of mankind, has undoubtedly votaries 
that reverence it, not from reason, but from pre 
judice. Some seem to admire indiscriminately 
whatever has been long preserved, without con 
sidering that time has sometimes co-operated with 
chance; all perhaps are more willing to honour 


past than present excellence ; and the mind contem 
plates o-enius through the shades of age, as the eye 
surveys the sun through artificial opacity. The great 
contention of criticism is to find the faults of the 
moderns, and the beauties of the ancients. While an 
author is yet living, we estimate his powers by his 
worst performance ; and when he is dead, we rate 
them by his best. 

To works, however, of which the excellence is 
not absolute and definite, but gradual and compara 
tive ; to works not raised upon principles demonstra 
tive and scientific, but appealing wholly to obser 
vation and experience, no other test can be applied 
than length of duration and continuance of esteem. 
What mankind have long possessed, they have often 
examined and compared ; and if they persist to value 
the possession, it is because frequent comparisons 
have confirmed opinion in its favour. As among 
the works of nature, no man can properly call a 
river deep, or a mountain high, without the know 
ledge of many mountains, and many rivers ; so, in 
the productions of genius, nothing can be styled 
excellent till it has been compared with other works 
of the same kind. Demonstration immediately dis 
plays its power, and has nothing to hope or fear 
from the flux of years; but works tentative and 
experimental must be estimated by their proportion 
to the general and collective ability of man, as it is 
discovered in a long succession of endeavours. Of 
the first building that was raised, it might be with 
certainty determined that it was round or square; 
but whether it was spacious or lofty must have been 
referred to time. The Pythagorean scale of numbers 


was at once discovered to be perfect ; but the poems 
of Homer we yet know not to transcend the common 
limits of human intejligence, but by remarking-, 
that nation after nation, and century after century, 
has been able to do little more than transpose his in 
cidents, new-name his characters, and paraphrase his 

The reverence due to writings that have long sub 
sisted, arises therefore not from any credulous confi 
dence in the superior wisdom of past ages, or gloomy 
persuasion of the degeneracy of mankind, but is the 
consequence of acknowledged and indubitable posi 
tions, that what has been longest known has been 
most considered, and what is most considered is best 

The poet, of whose works I have undertaken the 
revision, may now begin to assume the dignity of an 
ancient, and claim the privilege of established fame 
and prescriptive veneration. He has long outlived 
his century, the term commonly fixed as the test of 
literary merit. Whatever advantages he might once 
derive from personal allusions, local customs, or 
temporary opinions, have for many years been lost ; 
and every topic of merriment, or motive of sorrow, 
which the modes of artificial life afforded him, now 
only obscure the scenes which they once illuminated. 
The effects of favour and competition are at an end ; 
the tradition of his friendships and his enmities has 
perished ; his works support no opinion with argu 
ments, nor supply any faction with invectives ; they 
can neither indulge vanity, nor gratify malignity; 
but are read without any other reason than the de 
sire of pleasure, and are therefore praised ouly as 


pleasure is obtained ; yet, thus unassisted by interest 
or passion, they have past through variations of taste 
and changes of manners, and, as they devolved from 
one generation to another, have received new Jionours 
at every transmission. 

But because human judgment, though it be gra 
dually gaining upon certainty, never becomes infal 
lible ; and approbation, though long continued, may 
yet be only the approbation of prejudice or fashion ; 
it is proper to^ inquire, by what peculiarities of excel 
lence Shakespeare has gained and kept the favour of 
his countrymen. 

Nothing can please many, and please long, but just 
representations of general nature. Particular man 
ners can be known to few, and therefore few only can 
judge how nearly they are copied. The irregular 
combinations of fanciful invention may delight awhile, 
by that novelty of which the common satiety of life 
sends us all in quest ; but the pleasures of sudden 
wonder are soon exhausted, and the mind can only 
repose on the stability of truth. 

Shakespeare is, above all writers, at least above all 
modern writers, the poet of nature ; the poet that 
holds up to his readers a faithful mirror of manners 
and of life. His characters are not modified by the 
customs of particular places, unpractised by the rest 
of the world ; by the peculiarities of studies or pro 
fessions, which can operate but upon small, numbers ; 
or by the accidents of transient fashions or temporary 
opinions : they are the genuine progeny of common 
humanity, such as the world will always supply, and 
observation will always find. His persons act and 
speak by the influence of those general passions and 



principles by which all minds are agitated, and the 
whole system of life is continued in motion. In the 
writing's of other poets, a character is too often an 
individual : in those of Shakespeare it is commonly a 

It is from this" wide extension of design that so 
much instruction is derived. It is this which fills 
the plays of Shakespeare with practical axioms* and 
domestic wisdom. It was said of Euripides, that 
every verse was a precept; and it may be said of 
Shakespeare, that from his works may be collected a 
system of civil and oeconomical prudence. Yet his 
real power is not shewn in the splendor of particular 
passages, but by the progress of his fable, and the 
tenor of his dialogue : and he that tries to recommend 
him by select quotations, will succeed like the pedant 
in Hierocles, who, when he offered his house to sale- 
carried a brick in his pocket as a specimen. 

It will not easily be imagined how much Shake 
speare excels in accomriiodating his sentiments to 
real life, but by comparing him with other authors. 
It was observed of the ancient schools of declamation, 
that the more diligently they were frequented, the 
more was the student disqualified for the world, be 
cause he found nothing there which he should ever 
meet in any other place. The same remark may be 
applied to every stage but that of ..Shakespeare. 
The theatre, when it is under any other direction, 
is peopled by such characters as were never seen, 
conversing in a language which was never heard, 
upon topics which will never arise in the commerce 
of mankind. But the dialogue of this author is 
often so evidently determined by the incident which 



/ >< "" e ' 1 w 4 

produces it, and is pursued with so much ease and 
simplicity, that it seems scarcely to claim the merit 
of fiction, but to have been gleaned by diligent se 
lection out of common conversation, and common 

Upon every other stage the universal agent is love, 
by whose power all good and evil is distributed, and 
every action quickened or retarded. To bring a 
lover, a lady, and a rival into the fable ; to entangle 
them in contradictory obligations, perplex them 
with oppositions of interest, and harass them with 
violence of desires inconsistent with each other ; to 
make them meet in rapture, and part in agony ; to 
fill their mouths with hyperbolical joy and outrage 
ous sorrow ; to distress them as nothing human ever 
was distressed ; to deliver them as nothing human 
ever was delivered; is the business of a modern 
dramatist. For this, probability is violated, life is 
misrepresented, and language is depraved. But 
love is only one of mony^passions ; and as it has no 
great influence upon the sum of life, it has little ope 
ration in the dramas of a poet, who caught his 
ideas from the living world, and exhibited only what 
he saw before him. He knew that any other passion, 
as it was" regular or exorbitant, was a cause of hap 
piness or calamity./ 

Characters thus ample and general were not easily 
discriminated and preserved, yet perhaps no poet 
ever kept his personages more distinct from each 
other. I will not say with Pope, that every speech 
may be assigned to the proper speaker, because 
many speeches there are which have nothing charac 
ter istical ; but, perhaps, though some may be 


equally adapted to every person, it will be difficult 
to find that any can be properly transferred from the 
present possessor to another claimant. The choice is 
right, when there is reason for choice. 

Other dramatists can only gain attention by hy 
perbolical or aggravated characters, by fabulous and 
unexampled excellence or depravity, as the writers 
of barbarous romances invigorated the reader by a 
giant and a dwarf; and he that should form his ex 
pectations of human affairs from the play, or from 
the tale, would be equally deceived. 

has .BO^eroesjJhis^ ^enesj^l occupied only by men, 
wjho actjui<^^ 

himself have spoken or acted on the same occasion * 
^Y en where the agency is supernatural, the jJla* 
logue is level with life* I Other writers disguise the 
most natural passions and most frequent incidents ; 
so that he who contemplates them in the book will 
not know them in the world : Shakespeare approxi 
mates the remote, and familiarizes the wonderful ; 
the event which he represents will not happen, but, 
if it were possible, its effects would probably be such 
as he has assigned ; and it may be said, that he has 
not only shewn human nature as it acts in real exi 
gencies, but as it would be found in trials, to which 
it cannot be exposed. 

This therefore is the praise of Shakespeare, that 
his drama is the mirror of life; that he who has 
mazed his imagination, in following the phantoms 
which other writers raise up before him, may here 
be cured of his delirious ecstacies, by reading human 
sentiments in human language, by scenes from 
which a hermit may estimate the transactions of the 

G 2 


world, and a confessor predict the progress of the 


His adherence to general nature has exposed him 
to the censure of critics, who form their judgments 
upon narrower principles. Dennis and Rymer think 
his Romans not sufficiently Roman; and Voltaire 
censures his kings as not completely royal. Dennis 
is offended, that Menenius, a senator of Rome, should 
play the buffoon ; and Voltaire perhaps thinks decency 
violated when the Danish usurper is represented 
as a drunkard. But "Shakespeare always makes na 
ture predominate over accident ; and, if he preserves 
the essential character, is not very careful of dis- 
tinctions superinduced and adventitious. His story 
requires Romans or kings, but he thinks only on 
men. He knew that Rome, like every other city, 
\ had men of all dispositions ; and wanting a buffoon, 
he went into the senate-house for that which the 
senate-house would certainly have afforded him. He 
was inclined to shew an usurper and a murderer not 
only odious, but despicable; he therefore added 
drunkenness to his other qualities, knowing that 
kings love wine like other men, and that wine exerts 
its natural power upon kings. These are the petty 
cavils of petty minds; a poet overlooks the casual 
distinction of country and condition, as a painter, sa 
tisfied with the figure, neglects the drapery. 

The censure which he has incurred by mixing co 
mic and tragic scenes, as it extends to all his works, 
deserves more consideration. Let the fact be first 
stated, and then examined. 

Shakespeare's plays are not in the rigorous and cri 
tical sense either tragedies or comedies, but compo- 


sitions of a distinct kind ; exhibiting the real state of 
sublunary^a^turejrjwhich partakes of good and evil, 
joy and sorrow" mingled with endless variety' of pro 
portion and innumerable modes of combination ; and 
expressing the course of the world, in which the loss 
of one is the gain of another ; in which, at the same 
time, the reveller is hasting to his wine, and the 
mourner burying his friend ; in which the malignity 
of one is sometimes defeated by the frolic of an 
other ; and many mischiefs and many benefits are done 
and hindered without design. 

Out of this chaos of mingled purposes and , &W* 
casualties the ancient poets, according to the laws 
which custom had prescribed, selected some the 
crimes of men, and some their absurdities ; some 
the momentous vicissitudes of life, and some the 
lighter occurrences; some the terrors of distress, 
and some the gaieties of prosperity. Thus rose the 
two modes of imitation, known by the name of 
tragedy and comedy, compositions intended to pro 
mote different ends by contrary means, and consi 
dered as so little allied, that I do not recollect among 
the Greeks or Romans a single writer who at 
tempted both. 

Shakespeare has united the powers of exciting 
laughter and sorrow not only in one mind, but jn 
one composition. Almost all his plays are divided 
between serious and ludicrous characters, and, in the 
successive evolutions of the design, sometimes pro 
duce seriousness and sorrow, and sometimes levity 
and laughter. 

That this is a practice contrary to the rules of 
criticism will be readily allowed ; but there is always 


an appeal open from criticism to nature. The end 
of writing- is to instruct ; the end of^paetry is to in 
struct by p!easing- v /1rhat the mingled drama may 
convey all the ingriiction of tragedy or comedy can 
not be denied, Ij/cause it includes both in its alterna 
tions of exhibition, and approaches nearer than 
either to the appearance of life, by shewing how 
great machinations and slender designs may promote 
or obviate one another, and the high and the low co 
operate in the general system by unavoidable conca 

It is objected, that by this change of scenes the 
passions are interrupted in their progression, and 
that the principal event, being not advanced by a 
due gradation of preparatory incidents, wants at last 
the power to move, which constitutes the perfection 
of dramatic poetry. This reasoning is so specious, 
that it is received as true even by those who in daily 
experience feel it to be false. The interchanges of 
mingled scenes seldom fail to produce the intended 
vicissitudes of passion . Fiction cannot move so much, 
but that the attention may be easily transferred ; and 
though it must be allowed that pleasing melancholy 
be sometimes interrupted by unwelcome levity, yet 
let it be considered likewise, that melancholy is often 
not pleasing, and that the disturbance of one man 
may be the relief of another ; that different auditors 
have different habitudes \ and that, upon the whole, 
ll pleasure consists in variety^ 

The players, who in their edition divided our au 
thor's Avorks into comedies, histories, and tragedies, 
seem not to have distinguished the three kinds by 
any very exact or definite ideas. 

/ J\ 



An action which ended happily to the principal 
persons, however serious or distressful through its 
intermediate incidents, in their opinion constituted a 
comedy. This idea of a comedy continued long 
amongst us; and plays were written, which, by 
changing the catastrophe, were tragedies to-day, and 
comedies to-morrow. 

Tragedy was not in those times a poem of more 
general dignity or elevation than comedy ; it required 
only a calamitous conclusion, with which the common 
criticism of that age was satisfied, whatever lighter 
pleasure it afforded in its progress. 

History was a series of actions, with no other than 
chronological succession, independent on each other, 
and without any tendency to introduce or 'regulate 
the conclusion. It is not always very nicely distin 
guished from tragedy. There is not much nearer 
approach to unity of action in the tragedy of Antony 
and Cleopatra, than in the history of Richard the 
Second. But a history might be continued through 
many plays ; as it had no plan, it had no limits. 

\Through all these denominations of the drama, 
Shakespeare's mode of composition is the same ; an 
interchange of seriousness and merriment, by which 
the mind is softened at one time, and exhilarated at 
another. But whatever be his purpose, whether to 
gladden or depress, or to conduct the story, without 
vehemence or emotion, through tracts of easy and 
familiar dialogue, he never fails to attain his pur 
pose; as he commands us, we laugh or mourn, or 
sit silent with quiet expectation, in tranquillity 
without indifference!} 


When Shakespeare's plan is understood, most of 
the criticisms of Rymer and Voltaire vanish away. 
The play of Hamlet is opened, without impropriety, 
by two sentinels; lago bellows at Brabantio's window, 
without injury to the scheme of the play, though in 
terms which a modern audience would not easily en 
dure ; the character of Polonius is seasonable and use 
ful ; and the grave-diggers themselves may be heard 
with applause. 

Shakespeare engaged in dramatic poetry with the 
world open before him ; the rules of the ancients 
were yet known to few; the public judgment was 
unformed ; he had no example of such fame, as might 
force him upon imitation, nor critics of such au 
thority as might restrain his extravagance : he there 
fore indulged r his natural disposition ; and his dispo 
sition, as Rymer has remarked, led him to comedy. 
In tragedy he often writes, with great appearance of 
toil and study, what is written at last with little fe 
licity; but, in his comic scenes, he seems to pro 
duce, without labour, what no labour can improve. 
In tragedy he is always struggling after some occasion 
to be comic ; but in comedy he seems to repose, or 
to luxuriate, as in a mode of thinking, congenial to his 
nature. In his tragic scenes there is always some- ( 
thing wanting, but his comedy often surpasses expec 
tation or desire. His comedy pleases by the' thoughts 
and the language, and his tragedy for the greater part 
by incident and action. His tragedy seems to be 
skill, his comedy to be instinct. 

The force of his comic scenes has suffered little 
diminution from the changes made by a century and 
a half, in manners or in words. As his personages 


act upon principles arising" from genuine passion, 
very little modified by particular forms, their plea 
sures and vexations are communicable to all times 
and to all places; they are natural, and therefore 
durable : the adventitious peculiarities of personal 
habits are only superficial dyes, bright and pleasing 
for a little while, yet soon fading- to a dim tinct, 
without any remains of 'former lustre ; but the dis 
criminations of true passion are the colours of na 
ture : they pervade the whole mass, and can only 
perish with the body that exhibits them. The ac 
cidental compositions of heterogeneous modes are 
dissolved by the chance which combined them ; but 
the uniform simplicity of 'primitive qualities neither 
admits increase, nor suffers decay. The sand heaped 
by one flood is scattered by another, but the rock 
always continues in its place. The stream of time, 
which is continually washing the dissoluble fabrics 
of other poets, passes without injury by the adamant 
of Shakespeare. 

If there be, what I believe there is, in every na 
tion, a style which never becomes obsolete, a certain 
mode of phraseology so consonant and congenial to 
the analogy and principles of its respective language, 
as to remain settled and unaltered ; this style is pro 
bably to be sought in the common intercourse of life, 
among those who speak only to be understood, with 
out ambition of elegance. The polite are always 
catching modish innovations, and the learned depart 
from established forms of speech, in hope of finding 
or making better ; those who wish for distinction 
forsake the vulgar, when the vulgar is right ; but 
there is a conversation above grossness, and below 


refinement, where propriety resides, and where this 
poet seems to have* gathered his comic dialogue. 
He is therefore more agreeable to the ears of the 
present age than any other author equally remote, 
and among his other excellencies deserves to be 
studied as one of the original masters of our lan 

These observations are to be considered not as un- 
exceptionably constant, but as containing general 
and predominant truth. Shakespeare's familiar dia 
logue is affirmed to be smooth and clear, yet not 
wholly without ruggedness or difficulty ; as a coun 
try may be eminently fruitful, though it has spots 
unfit for cultivation ; his characters are praised as 
natural, though their sentiments are sometimes forced, 
and their actions improbable ; as the earth upon the 
whole is spherical, though its surface is varied with 
protuberances and cavities. 

Shakespeare with his excellencies has likewise faults, 
and faults sufficient to obscure and overwhelm any 
other merit. I shall shew them in the proportion in 
which they appear to me, without envious malignity 
or superstitious veneration. No question can be more 
innocently discussed than a dead poet's pretensions to 
renown -, and little regard is due to that bigotry 
which sets candour higher than truth. 

His first defect is, that to which may be imputed 
most of the evil in books or in men. He sacrifices 
virtue to convenience, and is so much more careful 
to please than to instruct, that he seems to write 
without any moral purpose. From his writings in 
deed a system of social duty may be selected, for he 
that thinks reasonably must think morally ; but his 


precepts and axioms drop casually from him ; he 
makes no just distribution of good or evil, nor is al 
ways careful to shew in the virtuous a disapprobation 
of the wicked ; he carries his persons indifferently 
through right and wrong, and -at the close dismisses 
them without further care, and leaves their examples 
to operate by chance. This fault the barbarity of 
his age cannot extenuate ; for it is always a writer's 
duty to make the world better, and justice is a virtue 
independent on time or place. 

The plots) are often so loosely formed, that a very 
slight consideration may improve them, and so care 
lessly pursued, that he seems not always fully to com 
prehend his own design. He omits opportunities of 
instructing or delighting, which the train of his story 
seems to force upon him, and apparently rejects those 
exhibitions which would be more affecting, for the 
sake of those which are more easy. 

It may be observed, that in many of his plays the 
latter part is evidently neglected. When he found 
himself near the end of his work, and in view of his 

.- V'-'-y 

reward, he shortened the labour to snatch the profit. 
He therefore remits his efforts where he should most 
vigorously exert them, and his catastrophe is impro 
bably produced or imperfectly represented. 

He had no regard to distinction of time or place, 
but gives to -one age or nation, without scruple, the 
customs, institutions, and opinions of another, at 
the expence not only of likelihood, but of possibi 
lity. These faults Pope has endeavoured, with more 
zeal than judgment, to transfer to his imagined in 
terpolators. We need not wonder to find Hector 
quoting Aristotle, when we see the loves of Theseus 


and Hippolyta combined with the gothic mytho 
logy f foiri 68 - Shakespeare, indeed, was not the 
only violator of chronology, for in the same age 
Sidney, who wanted not the advantages of learning, 
has in his Arcadia, confounded the pastoral with 
the feudal times, the days of innocence, quiet, and 
security, with those of turbulence, violence, and ad 

In his comic scenes he is seldom very successful, 
when he engages his characters in reciprocations of 
smartness and contests of sarcasm ; their jests are 
commonly gross, and their pleasantry licentious -, 
neither his gentlemen nor his ladies have much deli 
cacy, nor are sufficiently distinguished from his 
clowns by any appearance of refined manners. 
Whether he represented the real conversation of his 
time is not easy to determine : the reign of Elizabeth 
is commonly supposed to have been a time of stateli- 
ness, formality, and reserve ; yet perhaps the relaxa 
tions of that severity were not very elegant. There 
must, however, have been always some modes of 
gaiety preferable to others, and a writer ought to 
choose the best. 

In tragedy his performance seems constantly to be 
worse, as his labour is more. The effusions of pas 
sion, which exigence forces out, are for the most 
part striking and energetic; but whenever he solicits 
his invention, or strains his faculties, the offspring of 
his throes is tumour, meanness, tediousness, and ob 

In narration he affects a disproportionate pomp of 
diction, and a wearisome train of circumlocution, 
and tells the incident imperfectly in many words. 


which might have been more plainly delivered in few. 
Narration 1 in dramatic poetry is naturally tedious, as 
it is unanimated and inactive, and obstructs the pro 
gress of the action ; it should therefore always be ra 
pid, and enlivened by frequent interruption. Shake 
speare found it an incumbrance, and instead of light 
ening it by brevity, endeavoured to recommend it by 
dignity and splendor. 

His declamations or set speeches are commonly 
cold and weak, for his power was the power of na 
ture ; when he endeavoured, like other tragic wri 
ters, to catch opportunities of amplifi cation, and in 
stead of inquiring* what the occasion demanded, to 
shew how much his stores of knowledge could sup 
ply, he seldom escapes without the pity or resentment 
of his reader. 

It is incident to him to be now and then entangled 
with an unwieldy sentiment, which he cannot well 
express, and will not reject ; he struggles with it a 
while, and, if it continues stubborn, comprises it in 
words such as occur, and leaves it to be disentangled 
and evolved by those who have more leisure to bestow 
upon it. 

Not that always where the language is intricate 
the thought is subtle, or the image always great 
where the line is bulky ; the equality of words to 
things is very often neglected, and trivial sentiments 
and vulgar ideas disappoint the attention, to which 
they are recommended by sonorous epithets and 
swelling figures. 

But the admirers of this great poet have most rea 
son to complain when he approaches nearest to his 
highest excellence, and seems fully resolved to sink 




them in dejection, and mollify them with tender 
emotions by the fall of greatness, the danger of in 
nocence, or the crosses of love. What he does best, 
he soon ceases to do. He is not soft and pathetic 
without some idle conceit, or contemptible equivo 
cation. He no sooner begins to move, than he 
counteracts himself; and terror and pity, as they are 
rising in the mind, are checked and blasted by sud 
den frigidity. 

A quibble is to Shakespeare, what luminous va 
pours are to the traveller : he follows it at all adven 
tures; it is sure to lead him out of his way, and 
sure to engulf him in the mire. It has some malig 
nant power over his mind, and its fascinations are 
irresistible. Whatever be the dignity or profundity 
of his disquisition, whether he be enlarging know 
ledge or exalting affection, whether he be amusing 
attention with incidents, or enchaining it in suspense, 
let but a quibble spring up before him, and he leaves 
his work unfinished. A quibble is the golden apple 
for which he will always turn aside from his career, 
or stoop from his elevation. A quibble, poor and 
barren as it is, gave him such delight, that he was 
content to purchase it, by the sacrifice of reason, 
propriety, and truth. A quibble was to him the 
fatal Cleopatra for which he lost the world, and was 
content to lose it. 

It will be thought strange, that, in enumerating 
the defects of this writer, I have not yet mentioned 
his neglect of the unities ; his violation of those laws 
which have been instituted and established by the 
joint authority of poets and critics* 


For his other deviations from the art of writing-, 
I resign him to critical justice, without making any 
other demand in his favour, than that which must 
be indulged to all human excellence : that his vir 
tues be rated with his failings : but, from the cen 
sure which this irregularity may bring upon him, I 
shall, with due reverence to that learning which I 
must oppose, adventure to try how I can defend 

His histories, being neither tragedies nor come 
dies, are not subject to any of their laws ; nothing 
more is necessary to all the praise which they expect, 
than that the changes of action be so prepared as to 
be understood ; that the incidents be various and 
affecting, and the characters consistent, natural, and 
distinct. No other unity is intended, and therefore 
none is to be sought. 

In his other works he has well enough preserved 
the unity of action. He has not, indeed, an in 
trigue regularly perplexed and regularly unravelled ; 
he does not endeavour to hide his design only to 
discover it, for this is seldom the order of real events, 
and Shakespeare is the poet of nature : but his plan 
has commonly, what Aristotle requires, a beginning, 
a middle, and an end ; one event is concatenated 
with another, and the conclusion follows by easy 
consequence. There are perhaps some incidents 
that might be spared, as in other poets there is much 
talk that only fills up time upon the stage ; but the 
general system makes gradual advances, and the end 
of the play is the end of expectation. 

To the unities of time and place he has shewn no 
regard ; and perhaps a nearer view of the principles 



on which they stand will diminish their value, and 
withdraw from them the veneration which, from the 
time of Corneille, they have very generally received, 
by discovering 1 that they have given more trouble to 
the poet, than pleasure to the auditor; 

The necessity of observing the unities of time and 
place arises from the supposed necessity of making 
the drama credible. The critics hold it impossible, 
that an action of months or years can be possibly be 
lieved to pass in three hours ; or that the spectator 
can suppose himself to sit in the theatre, while am 
bassadors go and return between distant kings, while 
armies are levied and towns besieged, while an exile 
wanders and returns, or till he whom they saw court 
ing his mistress, shall lament the untimely fall of his 
son. The mind revolts from evident falsehood, and 
fiction loses its force when it departs from the resem 
blance of reality. 

From the narrow limitation of time necessarily 
arises the contraction of place. The spectator, who 
knows that he saw the first act at Alexandria, cannot 
suppose that he sees the next at Rome, at a distance 
to which not the dragons of Medea could, in so short 
a time, have transported him ; he knows with cer 
tainty that he has not changed his place ; and he 
knows that place cannot change itself; that what 
was a house cannot become a plain ; that what was 
Thebes can never be Persepolis. 

Such is the triumphant language with which a 
critic exults over the misery of an irregular poet, 
and exults commonly without resistance or reply. 
It is time, therefore, to tell him by the authority of 
Shakespeare, that he assumes, as an unquestionable 


principle, a position, which, while his breath is form 
ing it into words, his understanding 1 pronounces to be 
false. It is false, that any representation is mistaken 
for reality ; that any dramatic fable in its materiality 
was ever credible, or, for a single moment, was ever 

The objection arising from the impossibility of 
passing the first hour at Alexandria, and the next at 
Rome, supposes, that when the play opens, the spec 
tator really imagines himself at Alexandria, and be 
lieves that his walk to the theatre has been a voyage 
to Egypt, and that he lives in the days of Antony 
and Cleopatra. Surely he that imagines this may 
imagine more. He that can take the stage at one 
time for the palace of the Ptolemies, may take it in 
half an hour for the promontory of Actium. . Delu 
sion, if delusion be admitted, has no certain limita 
tion y if the spectator can be once persuaded, that 
his old acquaintance are Alexander and Ceesar, that a 
room illuminated with candles is the plain of Phar- 
salia, or the bank of Granicus, he is in a state of 
elevation above the reach of reason, or of truth, and 
from the heights of empyrean poetry, may despise the 
circumscriptions of terrestrial nature. There is no 
reason why a mind thus wandering in ecstacy should 
count the clock, or why an hour should not be a cen 
tury in that calenture of the brain that can make 
the stage a field. 

The truth is, that the spectators are always in 
their senses, and know, from the first act to the last, 
that the stage is only a stage, and that the players 
are only players. They came to hear a certain 
number of lines recited with just gesture and elegant 



modulation. The lines relate to some action, and 
an action must be in some place ; but the different 
actions that complete a story may be in places very 
remote from each other; and where is the absurdity 
of allowing" that space to represent first Athens, and 
then Sicily, which was always known to be neither 
Sicily nor Athens, but a modern theatre? 

By supposition, as place is introduced, time may 
be extended ; the time required by the fable elapses 
for the most part between the acts ; for, of so much 
of the action as is represented, the real and poetical 
duration is the same. If, in the first act, prepara 
tions for war against Mithridates are represented 
to be made in Rome, the event of the war may, 
without absurdity, be represented, in the catastrophe, 
as happening in Pontus ; we know that there is 
neither war, nor preparation for war ; we know that 
we are neither in Rome nor Pontus ; that neither 
Mithridates nor Lucullus are before us. The drama 
exhibits successive imitations of successive actions; 
and why may not the second imitation represent an 
action that happened years after the first, if it be so 
connected with it, that nothing but time can be sup 
posed to intervene ? Time is, of all modes of exist 
ence, most obsequious to the imagination ; a lapse 
of years is as easily conceived as a passage of hours. 
In contemplation we easily contract the time of real 
actions, and therefore willingly permit it to be con 
tracted when we only see their imitation. 

It will be asked, how the drama moves, if it is ttot 
credited. It is credited with all the credit due to a 
drama. It is credited, whenever it moves, as a just 
picture of a real original ; as representing to the au- 


ditor what he would himself feel, if he were to do or 
suffer what is there feigned to be suffered or to be 
done. The reflection that strikes the heart is not, 
that the evils before us are real evils, but that they 
are evils to which we ourselves may be exposed. If 
there be any fallacy, it is not that we fancy the players, 
but that we fancy ourselves unhappy for a moment ; 
but we rather lament the possibility than suppose the 
presence of misery, as a mother weeps over her babe, 
when she remembers that death may take it from her. 
The delight of tragedy proceeds from our conscious 
ness of fiction ; if we thought murders and treasons 
real, they would please no more. 

Imitations produce pain or pleasure, not because 
they are mistaken for realities, but because they 
bring realities to mind. When the imagination is 
recreated by a painted landscape, the trees are not 
supposed capable to give us shade, or the fountains 
coolness ; but we consider how we should be pleased 
with such fountains playing beside us, and such 
woods waving over us. We are agitated in reading 
the history of Henry the Fifth, yet no man takes his 
book for the field of Agincourt. A dramatic ex 
hibition is a book recited with concomitants that in 
crease or diminish its effect. Familiar comedy is often 
more powerful on the theatre, than in the page ; im 
perial tragedy is always less. The humour of Pe- 
truchio may be heightened by grimace; but what 
voice or what gesture can hope to add dignity or force 
to the soliloquy of Cato? 

A play read! affects the mind like a pfaj acted. 
It is therefore evident, that the action is not sup 
posed to be real ; and it follows, that between the 

H 2 


acts a longer or shorter time may be allowed to pass, 
and that no more account of space or duration is to 
be taken by the auditor of a drama, than by the 
reader of a narrative, before whom may pass in an 
hour the life of a hero, or the revolutions of an 

Whether Shakespeare knew the unities, and re 
jected them by design, or deviated from them by 
happy ignorance, it is, I think, impossible to de 
cide, and useless to inquire. We may reasonably 
suppose, that, when he rose to notice, he did not 
want the counsels and admonitions of scholars and 
critics, and that he at last deliberately persisted in 
a practice, which he might have begun by chance. 
As nothing is essential to the fable but unity of 
action, and as the unities of time and place arise 
evidently from false assumptions, and, by circum*. 
scribing the extent of the drama, lessen its variety, I 
cannot think it much to be lamented, that they were 
not known by him, or not observed : nor, if such 
another poet could arise, should I very vehemently 
reproach him that his first act passed at Venice, and 
his next in Cyprus. Sucli violations of rules merely 
positive become the comprehensive genius of Shake 
speare, and such censures are suitable to the minute 
and slender criticism of Voltaire. 

Non usque adeo permiscuit imis 
Longus summa dies, ut wow, si voce Metelli 
Serventur leges, malint a Casare tolli. 

Yet when I speak thus slightly of dramatic rules, 
I cannot but recollect how much wit and learning 
may be produced against me; before such authorities 


i am afraid to stand, not that I think the present 
question one of those that are to be decided by mere 
authority, but because it is to be suspected, that 
these precepts have not been so easily received, but 
for better reasons than I have yet been able to find. 
The result of my inquiries, in which it would be 
ludicrous to boast of impartiality, is, that the unities 
of time and place are not essential to a just drama; 
that though they may sometimes conduce to plea 
sure, they are always to be sacrificed to the nobler 
beauties of variety and instruction ; and that a play 
written with nice observation of critical rules, is to 
be contemplated as an elaborate curiosity, as the 
product of superfluous and ostentatious art, by which 
is shewn, rather what is possible, than what is ne 

He that, without diminution of any other excel 
lence, shall preserve all the unities unbroken, de 
serves the like applause with the architect, who shall 
display all the orders of architecture in a citadel, 
without any deduction from its strength : but the 
principal beauty of a citadel is to exclude the enemy ; 
and the greatest graces of a play are to copy nature, 
and instruct life. 

Perhaps, what I have here not dogmatically but 
deliberately written, may recall the principles of the 
drama to a new examination. I am almost frighted 
at my own temerity ; and when I estimate the fame 
and strength of those that maintain the contrary 
opinion, am ready to sink down in reverential silence ; 
as jEneas withdrew from the defence of Troy, when he 
saw Neptune shaking the wall, and Juno heading* the 


Those whom my arguments cannot persuade to 
give their approbation to the judgment of Shakespeare, 
will easily, if they consider the condition of his life, 
make some allowance for his ignorance. 

Every man's performances, to be rightly estimated, 
must be compared with the state of the age in which 
he lived, and with his own particular opportunities ; 
and though to the reader a book be not worse or bet 
ter for the circumstances of the author, yet as there 
is always a silent reference of human works to human 
abilities, and as the inquiry, how far man may ex 
tend his designs, or how high he may rate his native 
force, is of far greater dignity than in what rank we 
shall place any particular performance, curiosity is 
always busy to discover the instruments, as well as to 
survey the workmanship, to know how much is to be 
ascribed to original powers, and how much to casual 
and adventitious help. The palaces of Peru or Mexico 
were certainly mean and incommodious habitations, 
if compared to the houses of European monarchs ; yet 
who could forbear to view them with astonishment, 
who remembered that they were built without the 
use of iron ? 

The English nation, in the time of Shakespeare, 
was yet struggling to emerge from barbarity. The 
philology of Italy had been transplanted hither in the 
reign of Henry the Eighth; and the learned lan 
guages had been successfully cultivated by Lilly, 
Linacre, and More; by Pole, Cheke, and Gardiner; 
and afterwards by Smith, Clerk, Haddon, and Ascham. 
Greek was now taught to 'boys in the principal 
schools ; and those who united elegance with learn 
ing, read, with great diligence, the Italian and 


Spanish poets. But literature was yet confined to 
professed scholars, or to men and women of high rank. 
The public was gross and dark ; and to be able to 
read and write, was an accomplishment still valued 
for its rarity. 

Nations, like individuals, have their infancy. A 
people newly awakened to literary curiosity, being 
yet unacquainted with the true state of thing's, knows 
not how to judge of that which is proposed as its 
resemblance. Whatever is remote from common 
appearances, is always welcome to vulgar, as to 
childish credulity; and of a -country unenlightened 
by learning 1 , the whole people is the vulgar. The 
study of those who then aspired to plebeian learning" 
was laid out upon adventures, giants, dragons, and 
enchantments. The Death of Arthur was the fa 
vourite volume. 

The mind, which has feasted on the luxurious 
wonders of fiction, has no taste of the insipidity of 
truth. A play, which imitated only the common 
occurrences of the world, would, upon the admirers 
of Palmerin and Guy of Warwick, have made little 
impression; he that wrote for such an audience was 
under the necessity of looking round for strange 
events and fabulous transactions; and that incredi 
bility, by which maturer knowledge is offended, was 
the chief recommendation of writings, to unskilful 

Our author's plots are generally borrowed from 
novels; and it is reasonable to suppose, that he 
chose the most popular^ such as were read by many* 
and related by more; for his audience could not 
have followed him through the intricacies of 


drama, had they not held the thread of the story in 
their hands. 

The stories, which we now find only in remoter 
authors, were in his time accessible and familiar. 
The fable of As you like it, which is supposed to be 
copied from Chaucer's Gamely n, was a little pamphlet 
of those times; and old Mr. Gibber remembered the 
tale of Hamlet in plain English prose, which the cri 
tics have now to seek in Saxo Grammaticus. 

His English histories he took from English chroni 
cles and English ballads; and as the ancient writers 
were made known to his countrymen by versions, 
they supplied him with new subjects; he dilated some 
of Plutarch's lives into plays, when they had been 
translated by North. 

His plots, whether historical or fabulous, are always 
crowded with incidents, by which the attention of a 
rude people was more easily caught than by senti 
ment or argumentation ; and such is the power of the 
marvellous, even over those who despise it, that every 
man finds his mind more strongly seized by the tra 
gedies of Shakespeare than of any other writer : others 
please us by particular speeches ; but he always 
makes us anxious for the event, and has perhaps ex 
celled all but Homer in securing the first purpose of a 
writer, by exciting restless and unquenchable curio 
sity, and compelling him that reads his work to read 
it through. 

The shows and bustle with which his plays abound 
have the same original. As knowledge advances, 
pleasure passes from the eye to the ear, but returns, 
as it declines, from the ear to the eye. Those to 
whom our author's labours were exhibited had more 


skill in pomps or processions than in poetical lan 
guage, and perhaps wanted some visible and dis 
criminated events, as comments on the dialogue. He 
knew how he should most please ; and whether his 
practice is more agreeable to nature, or whether his 
example has prejudiced the nation, we still find that 
on our stage something must be done as well as said, 
and inactive declamation is very coldly heard, how 
ever musical or elegant, passionate or sublime. 

Voltaire expresses his wonder, that our author's 
extravagancies are endured by a nation, which has 
seen the tragedy of Cato. Let him be answered, 
that Addison speaks the language of poets; and 
Shakespeare, of men. We find in Cato innumerable 
beauties which enamour us of its author, but we see 
nothing that acquaints us with human sentiments or 
human actions; we place it with the fairest and the 
noblest progeny which judg*ment propagates by con 
junction with learning ; but Othello is the vigorous 
and vivacious offspring of observation impregnated 
by genius. Cato affords a splendid exhibition of ar 
tificial and fictitious manners, and delivers just and 
noble sentiments, in diction easy, elevated, and har 
monious j but its hopes and fears communicate no vi 
bration to the heart ; the composition refers us only to 
the writer ; we pronounce the name of Cato, but we 
think on Addison. 

The work of a correct and regular writer is a gar 
den accurately formed and diligently planted, varied 
with shades, and scented with flowers ; the compo 
sition of Shakespeare is a forest, in which oaks extend 
their branches, and pines tower in the air, inter 
spersed sometimes with weeds and brambles, and 


sometimes giving shelter to myrtles and to roses ; 
filling the eye with awful pomp, and gratifying the 
mind with endless diversity. Other poets display ca 
binets of precious rarities, minutely finished, wrought 
into shape, and polished into brightness. Shakespeare 
opens a mine which contains gold and diamonds in 
unexhaustible plenty, though clouded by incrusta 
tions, debased by impurities, and mingled with a mass 
of meaner minerals. 

It has been much disputed, whether Shakespeare 
owed his excellence to his own native force, or whe 
ther he had the common helps of scholastic educa* 
tion, the precepts of critical science, and the examples 
of ancient authors. 

There has always prevailed a tradition, that Shake 
speare wanted learning, that he had no regular edu 
cation, nor much skill in the dead languages. Jon- 
son, his friend, affirms, that he had small Latin, and 
less Greek; who, besides that he had no imaginable 
temptation to falsehood, wrote at a time when the 
character and acquisitions of Shakespeare were known 
to multitudes. His evidence ought therefore to de 
cide the controversy, unless some testimony of equal 
force could be opposed. 

Some have imagined, that they have discovered 
deep learning in many imitations of old writers; but 
the examples which I have known urged were drawn 
from books translated in his time ; or were such easy 
coincidences of thought, as will happen to all who 
consider the same subjects; or such remarks on life 
or axioms of morality as float in conversation, and 
are transmitted through the world in proverbial sen 


I have found it remarked, that, in this important 
sentence, " Go before, I'll follow," we read a translation 
of, " I prae, sequar." I have been told, that when 
Caliban, after a pleasing 1 dream, says, I cry'd to sleep 
again, the author imitates Anacreon, who had, 
like every other man, the same wish on the same 

There are a few passages which may pass for imi 
tations, but so few, that the exception only confirms 
the rule ; he obtained them from accidental quota 
tions, or by oral communication, and as he used 
what he had, would have used more if he had ob 
tained it. 

The Comedy of Errors is confessedly taken from 
the Men&chmi of Plautus ; from the only play of 
Plautus which was then in English. What can be 
more probable, than that he who copied that would 
have copied more ; but that those which were not 
translated were inaccessible ? 

Whether he knew the modern languages is un 
certain. That his plays have some French scenes 
proves but little ; he might easily procure them to be 
written, and probably, even though he had known 
the language in the common degree, he could not 
have written it without assistance. In the story of 
Romeo and Juliet he is observed to have followed the 
English translation, where it deviates from the Ita 
lian : but this on the other part proves nothing 
against his knowledge of the original. He was to 
copy, not what he knew himself, but what was 
known to his audience. 

It is most likely that he had learned Latin suffi 
ciently to make him acquainted with construction* 


but that he never advanced to an easy perusal of the 
Roman authors. Concerning his skill in modern 
languages, I can find no sufficient ground of deter 
mination ; but as no imitations of French or Italian 
authors have been discovered, though the Italian 
poetry was then high in esteem, I am inclined to 
believe, that he read little more than English, and 
chose for his fables only such tales as he found trans 

That much knowledge is scattered over his works 
is very justly observed by Pope ; but it is often such 
knowledge as books did not supply. He that will 
understand Shakespeare, must not be content to study 
him in the closet, he must look for his meaning 
sometimes among the sports of the field, and some 
times among the manufactures of the shop. 

There is, however, proof enough that he was a 
very diligent reader, nor was our language then so 
indigent of books, but that he might very liberally 
indulge his curiosity without excursion into foreign 
literature. Many of the Roman authors were trans 
lated, and some of the Greek ; the Reformation had 
filled the kingdom with theological learning; most 
of the topics of human disquisition had found English 
writers; and poetry had been cultivated, not only 
with diligence, but success. This was a stock of 
knowledge sufficient for a mind so capable of appro 
priating and improving it. 

But the greater part of his excellence was the pro 
duct of his own genius. He found the English stage 
in a state of the utmost rudeness; no essays either 
in tragedy or comedy had appeared, from which it 
could be discovered to what degree of delight either 


one or other might be carried. Neither character nor 
dialogue were yet understood. Shakespeare may be 
truly said to have introduced them both amongst us, 
and in some of his happier scenes to have carried them 
both to the utmost height. 

By what gradations of improvement he proceeded, 
is not easily known ; for the chronology of his works 
is yet unsettled. Rowe is of opinion, that " perhaps 
we are not to look for his beginning, like those of other 
writers, in his least perfect works ; art had so little, 
and nature so large a share in what he did, that for 
aught I know," says he, " the performances of his youth, 
as they were the most vigorous, were the best." But 
the power .of nature is only the power of using to any 
certain purpose the materials which diligence pro 
cures or opportunity supplies. Nature gives no 
man knowledge, and, when images are collected 
by study and experience, can only assist in combin 
ing or applying them. Shakespeare, however fa 
voured by nature, could impart only what he had 
learned; and as he must increase his ideas, like 
other mortals, by gradual acquisition, he, like 
them, grew wiser as he grew older, could display 
life better as he knew it more, and instruct with 
more efficacy, as he was himself more amply in 

There is a vigilance of observation and accuracy 
of distinction which books and precepts cannot con 
fer ; from this almost all original and native excel 
lence proceeds. Shakespeare must have looked upon 
mankind with perspicacity, in the highest degree 
curious and attentive. Other writers borrow their 
characters from preceding writers, and diversify them 


only by the accidental appendages of present man 
ners ; the dress is a little varied, but the body is the 
same. Our author had both matter and form to 
provide; for, except the characters of Chaucer, to 
whom I think he is not much indebted, there were 
no writers in English, and perhaps not many in other 
modern languages, which shewed life in its native 

The contest about the original benevolence or 
malignity of man had not yet commenced. Specu 
lation had not yet attempted to analyze the mind, 
to trace the passions to their sources, to unfold the 
seminal principles of vice and virtue, or sound the 
depths of the heart for the motives of action. All 
those inquiries, which from that time that human 
nature became the fashionable study, have been 
made sometimes with nice discernment, but often 
with idle subtilty, were yet unattempted. The tales 
with which the infancy of learning was satisfied, ex 
hibited only the superficial appearances of action, 
related the events, but omitted the causes, and were 
formed for such as delighted in wonders rather than 
in truth. Mankind was not then to be studied in 
the closet; he that would know the world, was 
under the necessity of gleaning his own remarks, 
by mingling as he could in its business and amuse 

Boyle congratulated himself upon his high birth, 
because it favoured his curiosity, by facilitating his 
access. Shakespeare had no such advantage ; he 
came to London a needy adventurer, and lived for a 
time by very mean employments. Many works of 
genius and learning have been performed in states 



Qf life that appear very little favourable to thought 
or to inquiry ; so many, that he who considers them 
is inclined to think that he sees enterprise and per 
severance predominating over all external agency, 
and bidding help and hindrance vanish before them. 
The genius of Shakespeare was not to be depressed 
by the weight of poverty, nor limited by the nar 
row conversation to which men in want are inevitably 
condemned ; the incumbrances of his fortune were 
shaken from his mind, as dew drops from a lion's 

Though he had so many difficulties to encounter, 
and so little assistance to surmount them, he has 
been able to obtain an exact knowledge of many 
modes of life, and many casts of native dispositions J 
to vary them with great multiplicity ; to mark them 
by nice distinctions ; and to shew them in full view 
by proper combinations. In this part of his per 
formances he had none to imitate, but has been 
himself imitated by all succeeding writers; and it 
may be doubted, whether from all his successors more 
maxims of theoretical knowledge, or more rules of 
practical prudence, can be collected, than he alone has 
given to his country. 

Nor was his attention confined to the actions of 
men; he was an exact surveyor of the inanimate 
world ; his descriptions have always some peculia 
rities, gathered by contemplating things as they 
really exist. It may be observed that the oldest 
poets of many nations preserve their reputation, and 
that the following generations of wit, after a short 
celebrity, sink into oblivion. The first, whoever 
they be, must take their sentiments and description* 


immediately from knowledge; the resemblance i&r 
therefore just, their descriptions are verified by every 
eye, and their sentiments acknowledged by every 
breast. Those whom their fame invites to the same 
studies, copy partly them, and partly nature, till 
the books of one age gain such authority, as to 
stand in the place of nature to another, and imita 
tion, always deviating a little, becomes at last ca 
pricious and casual. Shakespeare, whether life or 
nature be his subject, shows plainly that he has 
seen with his own eyes; he gives the image which 
he receives, not weakened or distorted by the inter 
vention of any other mind ; the ignorant feel his re 
presentations to be just, and the learned see that they 
are complete. 

Perhaps it would not be easy to find any author, 
except Homer, who invented so much as Shakespeare, 
who so much advanced the studies which he culti 
vated, or effused so much novelty upon his age or 
country. The form, the characters, the language, 
and the shows of the English drama are his. "He 
seems," says Dennis, " to have been the very original 
of our English tragical harmony, that is, the harmony 
of blank verse, diversified often by dissyllable and 
trisyllable terminations. For the diversity distin 
guishes it from heroic harmony, and by bringing it 
nearer to common use makes it more proper to gain 
attention, and more fit for action and dialogue. Such 
verse we make when we are writing prose ; we make 
such verse in common conversation." 

I know not whether this praise is rigorously just. 
The dissyllable termination, which the critic right 
ly appropriates to the drama, is to be found, 


though, I think, not in Gorboduc, which is confess 
edly before our author; yet in Hieronymo*, of which 
the date is not certain, but which there is reason to 
believe at least as old as his earliest plays. This 
however is certain, that he is the first who taught 
either tragedy or comedy to please, there being no 
theatrical piece of any older writer, of which the 
name is known, except to antiquaries and collectors 
of books, which are sought because they are scarce, 
and would not have been scarce, had they been much 

To him we must ascribe the praise, unless Spenser 
may divide it with him, of having first discovered to 
how much smoothness and harmony the English lan 
guage could be softened. He has speeches, perhaps 
sometimes scenes, which have all the delicacy of 
Rowe, without his effeminacy. He endeavours in 
deed commonly to strike by the force and vigour of 
his dialogue, but he never executes his purpose better, 
than when he tries to sooth by softness. 

Yet it must be at last confessed, that as we owe 
every thing to him, he owes something to us ; that, 
if much of his praise is paid by perception and judg 
ment, much is likewise given by custom and venera 
tion. We fix our eyes upon his graces, and turn 
them from his deformities, and endure in him what 
we should in another loath or despise. If we en 
dured without praising, respect for the father of our 
drama might excuse us; but v l have seen, in the 
book of some modern critic, a collection of ano 
malies, which shew that he has corrupted language 

* It appears, from the induction of Ben Jonson's Bartholomew 
Fair, to have been acted before the year 1590. STEEVENS. 


by every mode of depravation, but which his admirer 
has accumulated as a monument of honour. 

He has scenes of undoubted and perpetual excel 
lence ; but perhaps not one play, which, if it were 
now exhibited as the work of a contemporary writer, 
would be heard to the conclusion. I am indeed far 
from thinking-, that his works were wrought to his 
own ideas of perfection ; when they were such as 
would satisfy the audience, they satisfied the writer. 
It is seldom that authors, though more studious of 
fame than Shakespeare, rise much above the standard 
of their own age ; to add a little to what is best will 
always be sufficient for present praise, and those who 
find themselves exalted into fame, are willing to cre 
dit their encomiasts, and to spare the labour of con 
tending with themselves. 

It does not appear that Shakespeare thought his 
works worthy of posterity, that he levied any ideal 
tribute upon future times, or had any further pro 
spect, than of present popularity and present profit. 
When his plays had been acted, his hope was at an 
end; he solicited no addition of honour from the 
reader. He therefore made no scruple to repeat the 
same jests in many dialogues, o/to entangle different 
plots by the same knot of perplexity; which may be 
at least forgiven him, by those who recollect, that of 
Congreve's four comedies, two are concluded by a 
marriage in a mask, by a deception, which perhaps 
never happened, and which, whether likely or not, 
he did not invent. 

So careless was this great poet of future fame, 
that, though he retired to ease and plenty, while he 
was yet little declined into the vale of years, before 



he could be disgusted with fatigue, or disabled by 
infirmity, he made no collection of his works, nor de 
sired to rescue those that had been already published 
from the depravations that obscured them, or secure 
to the rest a better destiny, by giving them to the 
world in their genuine state. 

Of the plays which bear the name of Shakespeare 
in the late editions, the greater part were not pub 
lished till about seven years after his death ; and the 
few which appeared in his life are apparently thrust 
into the world without the care of the author, and 
therefore probably without his knowledge. 

Of all the publishers, clandestine or professed, 
the negligence and unskilfulness has by the late re 
visers been sufficiently shewn. The faults of all are 
indeed numerous and gross, and have not only cor 
rupted many passages perhaps beyond recovery, but 
have brought others into suspicion, which are only 
obscured by obsolete phraseology, or by the writer's 
unskilfulness and affectation. To alter is more easy 
than to explain, and temerity is a more common 
quality than diligence. Those who saw that they 
must employ conjecture to a certain degree, wertf 
willing to indulge it a little further. Had the au 
thor published his own works, We should have sat 
quietly down to disentangle his intricacies, and 
clear his obscurities; but now we tear what we can 
not loose, and eject what we happen not to under 

The faults are more than could have happened 
without the concurrence of many causes. The style 
of Shakespeare was in itself ungrammatical, per 
plexed, and obscure ; his works were transcribed for 



the players by those who may be supposed to have 
seldom understood them ; they were transmitted by 
copiers equally unskilful, who still multiplied er 
rors; they were perhaps sometimes mutilated by 
the actors, for the sake of shortening the speeches ; 
and were at last printed without correction of the 

In this state they remained, not as Dr. Warburton 
supposes, because they were unregarded, but be 
cause the editor's art was not yet applied to modern 
languages, and our ancestors were accustomed to so 
much negligence of English printers, that they could 
very patiently endure it. At last an edition was un 
dertaken by Rowe ; not because a poet was to be 
published by a poet, for Rowe seems to have thought 
very little on correction or explanation ; but that 
our author's works might appear like those of his 
fraternity, with the appendages of a life and recom 
mendatory preface. Rowe has been clamorously 
blamed for not performing what he did not under 
take ; and it is time that justice be done him, by 
confessing, that though he seems to have had no 
thought of corruption beyond the printer's errors, 
yet he has made many emendations, if they were 
not made before, which his successors have received 
without acknowledgment, and which, if they had 
produced them, would have filled pages and pages 
with censures of the stupidity by which the faults 
were committed, with displays of the absurdities 
which they involved, with ostentatious exposition of 
the new reading, and self-congratulations on the hap 
piness of discovering. 


As of the other editors I have preserved the pre 
faces, I have likewise borrowed the author's life from 
Rowe, though not written with much elegance or 
spirit ; it relates, however, what is now to be known, 
and therefore deserves to pass through all succeeding 

The nation had been for many years content 
enough with Mr. Howe's performance, when Mr. 
Pope made them acquainted with the true state of 
Shakespeare's text, shewed that it was extremely 
corrupt, and gave reason to hope that there were 
means of reforming it. He collated the old copies, 
which none had thought to examine before, and re 
stored many lines to their integrity ; but, by a very 
compendious criticism, he rejected whatever he dis 
liked, and thought more of amputation than of cure. 

I know not why he is commended by Dr. Warbur- 
ton for distinguishing the genuine from the spurious 
plays. In this choice he exerted no judgment of his 
own ; the plays which he received, were given by 
Hemings and Condel, the first editors; and those 
which he rejected, though, according to the licen 
tiousness of the press in those times, they were printed 
during Shakespeare's life, with his name, had been 
omitted by his friends, and were never added to his 
works before the edition of 1664, from which they 
were copied by the later printers. 

This is a work which Pope seems to have thought 
unworthy of his abilities, being not able to suppress 
his contempt of the dull duty of an editor. He un 
derstood but half his undertaking. The duty of a 
collator is indeed dull, yet, like other tedious tasks, 
is very necessary; but an emendatory critic would 


ill discharge his duty, without qualities very dif 
ferent from duln ess. In perusing a corrupted piece, 
he must have before him all possibilities of meaning-, 
with all possibilities of expression. Such must be his 
comprehension of thought, and such his copiousness 
of language. Out of many readings possible, he must 
he able to select that which best suits with the state, 
opinions, and modes of language prevailing in every 
age, and with his author's particular cast of thought, 
and turn of expression. Such must be his knowledge, 
and such his taste. Conjectural criticism demands 
more than humanity possesses, and he that exercises 
it with most praise, has very frequent need of indul 
gence. Let us now be told no more of the dull duty 
of an editor. 

Confidence is the common consequence of success. 
They whose excellence of any kind has been loudly 
celebrated, are ready to conclude, that their powers 
are universal. Pope's edition fell below his own ex 
pectations, and he was so much offended when he was 
found to have left any thing for others to do, that he 
passed the latter part of his life in a state of hostility 
with verbal criticism, 

I have retained all his notes, that no fragment of 
so great a writer may be lost ; his preface, valuable 
alike for elegance of composition and justness of re 
mark, and containing a general criticism on his author, 
so extensive that little can be added, and so exact that 
little can be disputed, every editor has an interest to 
suppress, but that every reader would demand its 

Pope was succeeded by Theobald, a man of naiv 
comprehension, and small acquisitions, with no 


native and intrinsic splendor of genius, with little of 
the artificial light of learning, but zealous for minute 
accuracy, and not negligent in pursuing it. He col 
lated the ancient copies, and rectified many errors. 
A man so anxiously scrupulous might have been ex 
pected to do more, but what little he did was com 
monly right. 

In his reports of copies and editions he is not to 
be trusted without examination. He speaks some 
times indefinitely of copies, when he has only one. 
In his enumeration of editions, he mentions the two 
first folios as of high, and the third folio as of mid 
dle authority ; but the truth is, that the first is equi 
valent to all others, and that the rest only deviate 
from it by the printer's negligence. Whoever has any 
of the folios has all, excepting those diversities which 
mere reiteration of editions will produce. I collated 
them all at the beginning, but afterwards used only 
the first. . i 

Of his notes I have generally retained those which 
he retained himself in his second edition, except 
when they were confuted by subsequent annotators, 
or were too minute to merit preservation, I have 
sometimes adopted his restoration of a comma, 
without inserting the panegyric in which he cele 
brated himself for his achievement. The exu 
berant excrescence of his diction I have often lop 
ped, his triumphant exultations over Pope and Rowe 
I have sometimes suppressed, and his contemptible 
ostentation I have frequently concealed ; but I have 
in some places shewn him, as he would have shewn 
bimself, for the reader's diversion, that the inflated 


emptiness of some notes may justify or excuse the 
contraction of the rest. 

Theobald, thus weak and ignorant, thus mean and 
faithless, thus petulant and ostentatious, by the good 
luck of having Pope for his enemy, has escaped, 
and escaped alone, with reputation, from this under 
taking. So willingly does the world support those 
who solicit favour, against those who command re 
verence ; and so easily is he praised, whom no man 
can envy. 

Our author fell then into the hands of Sir Thomas 
Hanmer, the Oxford editor, a man, in my opinion, 
eminently qualified by nature for such studies. He 
had, what is the first requisite to emendatory cri 
ticism, that intuition by which the poet's intention 
is immediately discovered, and that dexterity of 
intellect which dispatches its work by the easiest 
means. He had undoubtedly read much; his ac 
quaintance with customs, opinions, and traditions, 
seems to have been large ; and he is often learned 
without shew. He seldom passes what he does not 
understand, without an attempt to find or to make 
a meaning, and sometimes hastily makes what a little 
more attention would have found. He is solicitous 
to reduce to grammar what he could not be sure that 
his author intended to be grammatical. Shakespeare 
regarded more the series of ideas, than of words ; 
and his language, not being designed for the reader's 
desk, was all that he desired it to be, if it conveyed 
his meaning to the audience. 

Hanmer's care of the metre has been too violently 
censured. He found the measure reformed in so 


many passages by the silent labours of some editors, 
with the silent acquiescence of the rest, that he 
thought himself allowed to extend a little further the 
licence, which had already been carried so far without 
reprehension ; and of his corrections in general, it 
must be confessed, that they are often just, and made 
commonly with the least possible violation of the 

But, by inserting his emendations, whether in 
vented or borrowed, into the page, without any no 
tice of varying copies, he has appropriated the la 
bour of his predecessors, and made his own edition 
of little authority. His confidence, indeed, both in 
himself and others was too great ; he supposes all to 
be right that was done by Pope and Theobald ; he seems 
not to suspect a critic of fallibility ; and it was but 
reasonable that he should claim what he so liberally 

As he never writes without careful inquiry and di 
ligent consideration, I have received all his notes, and 
believe that every reader will wish for more. 

Of the last editor it is more difficult to speak. 
Respect is due to high place, tenderness to living re 
putation, and veneration to genius and learning-; but 
he cannot be justly offended at that liberty of which 
he has himself so frequently given an example, nor 
very solicitous what is thought of notes, which he 
ought never to have considered as part of his serious 
employments, and which, I suppose, since the ardour 
of composition is remitted, he no longer numbers 
among his happy effusions. 

The original and predominant error of his com 
mentary, is acquiescence in his first thoughts j that 


precipitation which is produced by consciousness of 
quick discernment ; and that confidence which pre 
sumes to do, by surveying the surface, what labour 
only can perform, by penetrating the bottom. His 
notes exhibit sometimes perverse interpretations, and 
sometimes improbable conjectures ; he at one time 
gives the author more profundity of meaning than the 
sentence admits, and at another discovers absurdities, 
where the sense is plain to every other reader. But 
his emendations are likewise often happy and just ; 
and his interpretation of obscure passages learned 
and sagacious. 

Of his notes, I have commonly rejected those, 
against which the general voice of the public has 
exclaimed, or which their own incongruity imme 
diately condemns, and which, I suppose, the author 
himself would desire to be forgotten. Of the rest, 
to part I have given the highest approbation, by in 
serting the offered reading in the text ; part I have left 
to the judgment of the reader, as doubtful, though 
specious ; and part I have censured without reserve, 
but I am sure without bitterness of malice, and, I 
hope, without wantonness of insult. 

It is no pleasure to me, in revising my volumes, 
to observe how much paper is wasted in confutation. 
Whoever considers the revolutions of learning, and 
the various questions of greater or less importance, 
upon which wit and reason have exercised their 
powers, must lament the unsuccessfulness of in 
quiry, and the slow advances of truth, when he 
reflects that great part of the labour of every writer 
is only the destruction of those that went before him. 
The first care of the builder of a new system, is to 


demolish the fabrics which are standing 1 . The 
chief desire of him that comments an author, is to 
shew how much other commentators have corrupted 
and obscured him. The opinions prevalent in one 
age, as truths above the reach of controversy, are 
confuted and rejected in another, and rise again to 
reception in remoter times. Thus the human mind 
is kept in motion without progress. Thus some 
times truth and error, and sometimes contrarieties 
of error, take each other's place by reciprocal in 
vasion. The tide of seeming knowledge, which is 
poured over one generation, retires and leaves ano 
ther naked and barren ; the sudden meteors of in 
telligence, which for a while appear to shoot their 
beams into the regions of obscurity, on a sudden with 
draw their lustre, and leave mortals again to grope 
their way. 

These elevations and depressions of renown, and 
the contradictions to which all improvers of know 
ledge must for ever be exposed, since they are not 
escaped by the highest and brightest of mankind, may 
surely be endured wtih patience by critics and anno- 
tators, who can rank themselves but as the satellites 
of their authors. How canst thou beg for life, says 
Homer's hero to his captive, when thou knowest that 
thou art now to suffer only what must another day be 
suffered by Achilles ? 

Dr. Warburton had a name sufficient to confer 
celebrity on those who could exalt themselves into 
antagonists, and his notes have raised a clamour too 
loud to be distinct. His chief assailants are the au 
thors of the Canons of Criticism, and of the Revisal of 
Shakespeare's Text ; of whom one ridicules his errors 


with airy petulance, suitable enough to the levity of 
the controversy ; the other attacks them with gloomy 
malignity, as if he were dragging to justice an assassin 
or incendiary. The one stings like a fly, sucks a lit 
tle blood, takes a gay flutter, and returns for more ; 
the other bites like a viper, and would be glad to leave 
inflammations and gangrene behind him. When I 
think on one, with his confederates, I remember the 
danger of Coriolanus, who was afraid that girls with 
spits, and boys with stones, should slay him in puny 
battle ; when the other crosses my imagination, I re 
member the prodigy in Macbeth : 

A falcon lowering in his pride of place, 
Was by a mousing owl hawk'd at and IdWd. 

Let me however do them justice. One is a wit, 
and one a scholar*. They have both shewn acuteness 
sufficient in the discovery of faults, and have both ad 
vanced some probable interpretations of obscure pas 
sages ; but when they aspire to conjecture and emen 
dation, it appears how falsely we all estimate our own 
abilities, and the little which they have been able to 
perform might have taught them more candour to the 
endeavours of others. 

Before Dr. Warburton's edition, Critical Observa 
tions on Shakespeare had been published by Mr. Up- 

* It is extraordinary that this gentleman should attempt so volu- 
lainous a work, as the Revisal of Shakespeare's Text, when he tells 
us in his preface, he was not so fortunate as to be furnished with 
" either of the folio editions, much less any of the ancient quartos : 
" and even Sir Thomas Hanmer's performance was known to him 
" only by Dr. Warburton's representation." FARMER. 


ton*, a man skilled in languages, and acquainted 
with books, but who seems to have had no great 
vigour of genius or nicety of taste. Many of his 
explanations are curious and useful, but he likewise, 
though he professed to oppose the licentious con 
fidence of editors, and adhere to the old copies, is 
unable to restrain the rage of emendation, though 
his ardour is ill seconded by his skill. Every cold 
empiric, when his art is expanded by a successful 
experiment, swells into a theorist, and the laborious 
collator at some unlucky moment frolics in con 

Critical, historical, and explanatory notes have been 
likewise published upon Shakespeare by Dr. Grey, 
whose diligent perusal of the old English writers has 
enabled him to make some useful observations. 
What he undertook he has well enough performed ; 
but as he neither attempts judicial or emendatory 
criticism, he employs rather his memory than his 
sagacity. It were to be wished that all would endea 
vour to imitate his modesty, who have not been able 
to surpass his knowledge. 

I can say with great sincerity of all my prede 
cessors, what I hope will hereafter be said of me, 
that not one has left Shakespeare without improve 
ment ; nor is there one to whom I have not been 
indebted for assistance and information. Whatever 
I have taken from them, it was my intention to 
refer to its original author, and it is certain, that 
what I have not given to another, I believed when 
I wrote it to be my own. In some perhaps I have 

* Republished by him in 1748, after Dr. Warbur ton's edition, 
with alterations, &c. STEEVENS. 


been anticipated ; but if I am ever found to encroach 
upon the remarks of any other commentator, I am 
willing- that the honour, be it more or less, should be 
transferred to the first claimant, for his right, and his 
alone, stands above dispute ; the second can prove 
his pretensions only to himself, nor can himself always 
distinguish invention, witk sufficient certainty, from 

They have all been treated by me with candour, 
which they have not been careful of observing- to 
one another. It is not easy to discover from what 
cause the acrimony of a scholiast can naturally pro 
ceed. The subjects to be discussed by him are of 
very small importance; they involve neither pro 
perty nor liberty ; nor favour the interest of sect or 
party. The various readings of copies, and different 
interpretations of a passage, seem to be questions 
that might exercise the wit, without engaging the 
passions. But whether it be, that small things make 
mean men proud, and vanity catches small occasions ; 
or that all contrariety of opinion, even in those that 
can defend it no longer, makes proud men angry ; 
there is often found in commentators a spontaneous 
strain of invective and contempt, more eager and 
venomous than is vented by the most furious contro- 
vertist in politics against those whom he is hired to 

Perhaps the lightness of the matter may conduce 
to the vehemence of the agency ; when the truth to 
be investigated is so near to inexistence, as to escape 
attention, its bulk is to be enlarged by rage and 
exclamation : that to which all would be indifferent 
in its original state, may attract notice when the fate 


of a name is appended to it. A commentator has 
indeed great temptations to supply by turbulence what 
he wants of dignity, to beat bis little gold to a spa 
cious surface, to work that to foam which no art or dili 
gence can exalt to spirit. 

The notes which I have borrowed or written are 
either illustrative, by which difficulties are explained; 
or judicial, by which faults and beauties are re 
marked j or emendatory, by which depravations are 

The explanations transcribed from others, if I 
do not subjoin any other interpretation, I suppose 
commonly to be right, at least I intend by acqui 
escence to confess, that I have nothing better to 

After the labours of all the editors, I found many 
passages which appeared to me likely to obstruct the 
greater number of readers, and thought it my duty 
to facilitate their passage. It is impossible for an 
expositor not to write too little for some, and too 
much for others. He can only judge what is ne 
cessary by his own experience \ and how long soever 
he may deliberate, will at last explain many lines 
which the learned will think impossible to be 
mistaken, and omit many for which the ignorant 
will want his help. These are censures merely re 
lative, and must be quietly endured. I have endea 
voured to be neither superfluously copious, nor scru 
pulously reserved, and hope that I have made my au 
thor's meaning accessible to many, who before were 
frighted from perusing him, and contributed some 
thing to the public, by diffusing innocent and ra 
tional pleasure. 


The complete explanation of an author not syste 
matic and consequential, but desultory and va 
grant, abounding in casual allusions and light hints, 
is not to be expected from any single scholiast. All 
personal reflections, when names are suppressed, must 
be in a few years irrecoverably obliterated \ and 
customs, too minute to attract the notice of law, 
such as modes of dress, formalities of conversation, 
rules of visits, disposition of furniture, and practices 
of ceremony, which naturally find places in familiar 
dialogue, are so fugitive and unsubstantial, that they 
are not easily retained or recovered. What can be 
known will be collected by chance, from the recesses 
of obscure and obsolete papers, perused commonly 
with some other view. Of this knowledge every 
man has some, and none has much ; but when an 
author has engaged the public attention, those who 
can add any thing to his illustration, communicate 
their discoveries, and time produces what had eluded 

To time I have been obliged to resign many pas 
sages, which, though I did not understand them, 
will perhaps hereafter be explained ; having, I hope, 
illustrated some, which others have neglected or 
mistaken, sometimes by short remarks, or marginal 
directions, such as every editor has added at his will, 
and often by comments more laborious than the 
matter will seem to deserve ; but that which is most 
difficult is not always most important, and to an 
editor nothing is a trifle by which his author is 

The poetical beauties or defects I have not been 
very diligent to observe. Some plays have more, 


and some fewer judicial observations, not in pro 
portion to their difference of merit, but because I 
gave this part of my design to chance and to caprice. 
The reader, I believe, is seldom pleased to find his 
opinion anticipated; it is natural to delight anore in 
what we find or make, than in what we receive. 
Judgment, like other faculties, is improved by prac 
tice, and its advancement is hindered by submission 
to dictatorial decisions, as the memory grows torpid 
by the use of a table-book. Some initiation is how 
ever necessary; of all skill, part is infused by pre 
cept, and part is obtained by habit ; I have therefore 
shewn so much as may enable the candidate of criti 
cism to discover the rest. 

To the end of most plays I have added short 
strictures, containing a general censure of faults, or 
praise of excellence ; in which I know not how much 
I have concurred with the current opinion ; but I 
have not, by any affectation of singularity, deviated 
from it. Nothing is minutely and particularly ex 
amined, and therefore it is to be supposed, that in 
the plays which are condemned there is much to be 
praised, and in those which are praised much to be 

The part of criticism in which the whole suc 
cession of editors has laboured with the greatest di 
ligence, which has occasioned the most arrogant 
ostentation, and excited the keenest acrimony, i$ the 
emendation of corrupted passages, to which the 
public attention having been first drawn by the 
violence of the contention between Pope and Theo 
bald, has been continued by the persecution, which, 



with a kind of conspiracy, has been since raised against 
all the publishers of Shakespeare. 

That many passages have passed in a state of de* 
pravation through all the editions* is indubitably 
certain; of these the restoration is only to be at 
tempted by collation of copies, of sagacity of con 
jecture. The collator's province is safe and easy, 
the conjecturer's perilous and difficult. Yet as the 
greater part of the plays are extant only in one copy, 
the peril must not be avoided, nor the difficulty 

Of the readings which this emulation of amend 
ment has hitherto produced, some from the labours 
of every publisher I have advanced into the text; 
those are to be considered as in my opinion suffici 
ently supported ; some I have rejected without men 
tion, as evidently erroneous ; some I have left in the 
notes without censure or approbation, as resting in 
equipoise between objection and defence ; and some, 
which seemed specious but not right, I have inserted 
with a subsequent animadversion. 

Having classed the observations of others, I was 
at last to try what I could substitute for their mis 
takes, and how I could supply their omissions. I col 
lated such copies as I could procure, and wished for 
more, but have not found the collectors of these ra 
rities very communicative. Of the editions which 
chance or kindness put into my hands I have given an 
enumeration, that I may not be blamed for neglecting 
what I had not the power to do. 

By examining the old copies, I soon found that 
the later publishers, with all their boasts of diligence, 


suffered many passages to stand unauthorized, and 
contented themselves with Howe's regulation of the 
text, even where they knew it to be arbitrary, and 
with a little consideration might have found it to be 
wrong. Some of these alterations are only the ejec 
tion of a word for one that appeared to him more 
elegant or more intelligible. These corruptions I 
have often silently rectified ; for the history of our 
language, and the true force of our words, can 
only be preserved, by keeping the text of authors 
free from adulteration. Others, and those very fre 
quent, smoothed the cadence, or regulated the mea 
sure : on these I have not exercised the same rigour; 
if only a word was transposed, or a particle inserted 
or omitted, I have sometimes suffered the line to 
stand ; for the inconstancy of the copies such, as 
that some liberties may be easily permitted. But 
this practice I have not suffered to proceed far, hav 
ing restored the primitive diction wherever it could 
for any reason be preferred. 

The emendations, which comparison of copies sup 
plied, I have inserted in the text : sometimes, where 
the improvement was slight, without notice, and some 
times with an account of the reasons of the change. 

Conjecture, though it be sometimes unavoidable, 
I have not wantonly nor licentiously indulged. It 
has been my settled principle, that the reading of the 
ancient books is probably true, and therefore is not 
to be disturbed for the sake of elegance, perspicuity, 
or mere improvement of the sense. For though 
much credit is not due to the fidelity, nor any to the 
judgment of the first publishers, yet they who h^d thfi 



copy before their eyes were more likely to read it 
right, than we who read it only by imagination. But 
it is evident that they have often made strange mis 
takes by ignorance or negligence, and that there 
fore something may be properly attempted by criti 
cism, keeping the middle way between presumption 
and timidity. 

Such criticism I have attempted to practise, and, 
where any passage appeared inextricably perplexed, 
have endeavoured to discover how it may be recalled 
to sense, with least violence. But my first labour is, 
always to turn the old text on every side, and try if 
there be any interstice, through which light can find 
its way ; nor would Huetius himself condemn me, as 
refusing the trouble of research, for the ambition of 
alteration. In this modest industry I have not been 
unsuccessful. I have rescued many lines from the 
violations of temerity, and secured many scenes from 
the inroads of correction. I have adopted the Roman 
sentiment, that it is more honourable to save a citizen, 
than to kill an enemy, and have been more careful to 
protect than to attack. 

I have preserved the common distribution of the 
plays into acts, though I believe it to be in almost 
all the plays void of authority. Some of those which 
are divided in the later editions have no division in 
the first folio, and some that are divided iu the folio 
have no division in the preceding copies. The set 
tled mode of the theatre requires four intervals in the 
play ; but few, if any, of our author's compositions 
can be properly distributed in that manner. An act 
is so much of the drama as passes without interven- 


tion of time, or change of place. A pause makes a 
new act. In. every real, and therefore in every imi 
tative action, the intervals may be more or fewer, the 
restriction of five acts being accidental and arbitrary. 
This Shakespeare knew, and this he practised ; his 
plays were written, and at first printed in one unbroken 
continuity, and ought now to be exhibited with short 
pauses, interposed as often as the scene is changed, or 
any considerable time is required to pass. This me 
thod would at once quell a thousand absurdities. 

In restoring the author's works to their integrity, 
I have considered the punctuation as wholly in my 
power ; for what could be their care of colons and 
commas, who corrupted words and sentences ? What 
ever could be done by adjusting points, is therefore 
silently performed, in some plays with much diligence, 
in others with less; it is hard to keep a busy eye 
steadily fixed upon evanescent atoms, or a discursive 
mind upon evanescent truth. 

The same liberty has been taken with a few par 
ticles, or other words of slight effect. I have some 
times inserted or omitted them without notice. I 
have done that sometimes, which the other editors 
have done always, and which indeed the state of the 
text may sufficiently justify. 

The greater part of readers, instead of blaming us 
for passing trifles, will wonder that on mere trifles so 
much labour is expended, with such importance of 
debate, and such solemnity of diction. To these I 
answer with confidence, that they are judging of an 
art which they do not understand; yet cannot much 
reproach them with their ignorance, nor promise that 


they would become in general, by learning criticism, 
more useful, happier, or wiser. 

As I practised conjecture more, I learned to trust it 
less; and after I had printed a few plays, resolved to 
insert none of my own readings in the text. Upon this 
caution I now congratulate myself, for every day 
increases my doubt of my emendations. 

Since I have confined my imagination to the mar 
gin, it must not be considered as very reprehensible, 
if I have suffered it to play some freaks in its own 
dominion. There is no danger in conjecture, if it be 
proposed as conjecture ; and while the text remains 
uninjured, those changes may be safely offered, which 
are not considered even by him that offers them as 
necessary or safe. 

If my readings are of little value, they have not 
been ostentatiously displayed or importunately ob 
truded. I could have written longer notes, for the 
art of writing notes is not of difficult attainment. The 
work is performed, first by railing at the stupidity, 
negligence, ignorance, and asinine tastelessness of the 
former editors, and shewing, from all that goes before 
and all that follows, the inelegance and absurdity of 
the old reading ; then by proposing something, which 
to superficial readers would seem specious, but which 
the editor rejects with indignation; then by producing 
the true reading, with a long paraphrase, and con 
cluding with loud acclamations on the discovery, and 
a sober wish for the advancement and prosperity of 
genuine criticism.. 

All this may be done, and perhaps done sometimes 
without impropriety. But I have always suspected 


that the reading is right, which requires many words 
to prove it wrong, and the emendation wrong that 
cannot without so much labour appear to be right. 
The justness of a happy restoration strikes at once, and 
the moral precept may be well applied to criticism, 
quod dubitas nefeceris. 

To dread the shore which he sees spread with 
wrecks, is natural to the sailor. I had before my eye 
so many critical adventures ended in miscarriage, that 
caution was forced upon me. I encountered in every 
page wit struggling with its own sophistry , and learn 
ing confused by the multiplicity of its views. I was 
forced to censure those whom I admired, and could 
not but reflect, while I was dispossessing their emen 
dations, how soon the same fate might happen to my 
own, and how many of the readings which I have 
corrected may be by some other editor defended and 

Critics I saw, that others' names efface, 
And fix their own, with labour, in the place; 
Their own, like others, soon their place resign'd, 
Or disappear'd, and left the first behind. POPE. 

That a conjectural critic should often be mistaken, 
cannot be wonderful, either to others or himself, if 
it be considered, that in his art there is no system, no 
principal and axiomatical truth that regulates subordi 
nate positions. His chance of error is renewed at every 
attempt; an oblique view of the 'passage, a slight 
misapprehension of a phrase, a casual inattention to the 
parts connected, is sufficient to make him not only 
fail, but fail ridiculously; and when he succeeds best, 
he produces perhaps but one reading of many proba- 


ble, and he that suggests another will always be able 
to dispute his claims. 

It is an unhappy state, in which danger is hid under 
pleasure. The allurements of emendation are scarcely 
resistible. Conjecture has all the joy and all the pride 
of invention, and he that has once started a happy 
change, is too much delighted to consider what ob 
jections may rise against it. 

Yet conjectural criticism has been of great use in 
the learned world ; nor is it my intention to depre 
ciate a study, that has exercised so many mighty 
minds, from the revival of learning to our own age, 
from the bishop of Aleria to English Bentley. The 
critics on ancient authors have, in the exercise of their 
sagacity, many assistances, which the editor of Shake 
speare is condemned to want. They are employed 
upon grammatical and settled languages, whose con 
struction contributes so much to perspicuity, that 
Homer has fewer passages unintelligible than Chaucer. 
The words have not only a known regimen, but in 
variable quantities, which direct and confine the 
choice. There are commonly more manuscripts than 
one; and they do not often conspire in the same mis 
takes. Yet Scaliger could confess to Salmasius how 
little satisfaction his emendations gave him. Illudunt 
nobis conjecture nostrce, quarumnos pudet, posteaquam 
in meliores codices incidimus. And Lipsius could com 
plain, that critics were making faults, by trying to 
remove them, Ut olim vitiis, ita nunc remediis labora- 
tur. And, indeed, where mere conjecture is to be 
used, the emendations of Scaliger and Lipsius, not 
withstanding their wonderful sagacity and erudition, 
are often vague and disputable, like mine or Theobald's. 


Perhaps I may not be more censured for doing 
wrong, than for doing little ; for raising in the pub 
lic, expectations which at last I have not answered. 
The expectation of ignorance is indefinite, and that 
of knowledge is often tyrannical. It is hard to sa 
tisfy those who know not what to demand, or those 
who demand by design what they think impossible to 
be done. I have indeed disappointed no opinion 
more than my own ; yet I have endeavoured to per 
form my task with no slight solicitude. Not a single 
passage in the whole work has appeared to me cor 
rupt, which I have not attempted to restore ; or ob 
scure, which I have not endeavoured to illustrate. 
In many I have failed, like others ; and from many, 
after all my efforts, I have retreated, and confessed 
the repulse. I have not passed over^ with affected 
superiority, what is equally difficult to the reader and 
to myself, but, where I could not instruct him, have 
owned my ignorance. I might easily have accumu 
lated a mass of seeming learning upon easy scenes ; 
but it ought not to be imputed to negligence, that, 
where nothing is necessary, nothing has been done, 
or that, where others have said enough, I have said 
no more. 

Notes are often necessary, but they are necessary 
evils. Let him, that is yet unacquainted with the 
powers of Shakespeare, and who desires to feel the 
highest pleasure that the drama can give, read every 
play, from the first scene to the last, with utter neg 
ligence of all his commentators. When his fancy is 
once on the wing, let it not stoop at correction or ex 
planation. When his attention is strongly engaged, 


let it disdain alike to turn aside to the name of Theo 
bald and of Pope. Let him read on through bright 
ness and obscurity, through integrity and corruption ; 
let him preserve his comprehension of the dialogue 
and his interest in the fable. And when the plea 
sures of novelty have ceased, let him attempt exact 
ness, and read the commentators. 

Particular passages are cleared by notes, but the 
general effect of the work is weakened, The mind 
is refrigerated by interruption ; the thoughts are di 
verted from the principal subject; the reader i$ 
weary, he suspects not why ; and at last throws away 
the book which he has too diligently studied. 

Parts are not to be examined till the whole has 
been surveyed ; there is a kind of intellectual remote 
ness necessary for the comprehension of any great 
work in its full design, and in its true proportions ; 
a close approach shews the smaller niceties, but the 
beauty of the whole is discerned no longer. 

It is not very grateful to consider how little the 
succession of editors has added to this author's power 
of pleasing. He was read, admired, studied, and imi 
tated, while he was yet deformed with all the impro 
prieties which ignorance and neglect could accu 
mulate upon him; while the reading was yet not 
rectified, nor his allusions understood; yet then did 
Dryden pronounce, that Shakespeare was the " man 
" who, of all modern and perhaps ancient poets, had 
" the largest and most comprehensive soul. All the 
" images of nature were still present to him, and he 
" drew them not laboriously, but luckily : when he 
" describes any thing, you more than see it, you feel 


" it too. Those who accuse him to have wanted 
" learning-, give him the greater commendation : he 
" was naturally learned : he needed not the spectacles 
*' of books to read nature ; he looked inwards, and 
" found her there. I cannot say he is every where 
** alike; were he so, I should do him injury to com- 
" pare him with the greatest of mankind. He is many 
" times flat and insipid; his comic wit degenerating 
" into clenches, his serious swelling into bombast. 
" But he is always great, when some great occasion 
" is presented to him : no man can say, he ever had a 
" fit subject for his wit, and did not then raise him- 
" self as high above the rest of poets, 

" Quantum lenta solent inter viburna cupressi." 

It is to be lamented, that such a writer should want 
a commentary; that his language should become ob- 
xsolete, or his sentiments obscure. But it is vain to 
carry wishes beyond the condition of human things; 
that which must happen to all, has happened to 
Shakespeare, by accident and time ; and more than 
has been suffered by any other writer since the use of 
types, has been suffered by him through his own neg 
ligence of fame, or perhaps by that superiority of 
mind, which despised its own performances, when it 
compared them with its powers, and judged those 
works unworthy to be preserved, which the critics of 
following ages were to contend for the fame of re 
storing and explaining. 

Among these candidates of inferior fame, I am now 
to stand the judgment of the public; and wish that 


I could confidently produce my commentary as equal 
to the encouragement which I have had the honour 
of receiving. Every work of this kind is by its na 
ture deficient, and I should feel little solicitude about 
the sentence, were it to be pronounced only by the 
skilful and the learned. 




J.T is observed of The Tempest, that its plan is re 
gular j this the author of The Revisal* thinks, 
what I think too, an accidental effect of the story, 
not intended or regarded by our author. But what 
ever might be Shakespeare's intention in forming or 
adopting the plot, he has made it instrumental to 
the production of many characters, diversified with 
boundless invention, and preserved with profound 
skill in, nature), extensive knowledge of opinions, and 
accurate observation of life. In a single drama are 
here exhibited princes, courtiers, and sailors, all speak 
ing in their real characters. There is the agency of 
airy spirits, and of an earthly goblin ; the operations 
of magic, the tumults of a storm, the adventures of 
a desert island, the native effusion of untaught affec 
tion, the punishment of guilt, and the final happiness 
of the pair for whom our passions and reasort are 
equally interested. 

* Mr. Heath, who wrote a revisal of Shakespeare's text, published 
in 8vo. circa 1760, 



In this play there is a strange mixture of know 
ledge and ignorance, of t^ire\and negligence. The 
versification is often excellent, the allusions are 
learned and just; but the author conveys his heroes 
by sea from one inland town to another in the same 
country; he places the emperor at Milan, and sends 
his young men to attend him, but never mentions 
him more; he makes Protheus, after an interview 
with Silvia, say he has only seen her picture; and, 
if we may credit the old copies, he has, by mistaking 
places, left his scenery inextricable. The reason of 
all this confusion seems to be, that he took his story 
from a novel, . which he sometimes followed, and 
sometimes forsook, sometimes remembered, and some 
times forgot. 

That this play is rightly attributed to Shakespeare, 
I have little doubt. If it be taken from him, to 
whom shall it be given ? This question may be 
asked of all the disputed plays, except Titus Ari- 
dronicus ; and it will be found more credible, that 
Shakespeare might sometimes sink below his highest 
flights, than that any other should rise up to his 


Of this play there is a tradition preserved by Mr. 
Rowe, that it was written at the command of queen 
Elizabeth, who was so delighted with the character 
of Falstaff, that she wished it to be diffused through 
more plays; but suspecting that it might pall by 



continued uniformity, directed the poet to diversify 
his manner, by shewing him in love. No task is 
harder than that of writing* to the ideas of another. 
Shakespeare knew what the queen, if the story be true, 
seems not to have known, that by any real passion 
of tenderness the selfish craft, the careless jollity, and 
the lazy luxury of Pal staff must have suffered so much 
abatement, that little of his former cast would have 
remained. Falstaff could not love, but by ceasing to 
be Falstaff, He could only counterfeit love, and 
his professions could be prompted, not by the hope of 
pleasure, but of money. Thus the poet approached as 
near as he 'could to the work enj oined him ; yet having 
perhaps in the former plays completed his own idea, 
seems not to have been able to ig.ive Falstaff all his 
former power of entertainment. 

This comedy is remarkable for the variety and 
number of the personages, who exhibit inpre /charac'- 
ters appropriated and discriminated, than perhaps can 
be found in any other play. 

Whether Shakespeare was the first that produced 
upon the English stage the effect of language distorted 
and depraved by provincial or foreign pronunciation, 
I cannot certainly decide. This mode of forming 
ridiculous characters can confer praise only on him, 
who originally discovered it, for it requires not much 
of either wit or judgment: its success must be derived 
almost wholly from the player, but its power in .a 
skilful mouth, even he that despises it, is unable to 

The conduct of this drama is deficient ; the action 
begins and ends often before the conclusion, and the 
different parts might change places without mcon- 


venience ; but its general power, that power by which 
all works of genius shall finally be tried, is such, that 
perhaps it never yet had reader or spectator, who did 
not think it too soon at an end. 


There is perhaps not one of Shakespeare's plays more 
darkened than this, by the peculiarities of its author, 
and the unskilfulness of its editors, by distortions of 
phrase, or negligence of transcription. 

The novel of Giraldi Cynthio, from which Shake 
speare is supposed to have borrowed this fable, may 
be read in Shakespeare illustrated, elegantly translated, 
with remarks, which will assist the inquirer to disco 
ver how much absurdity Shakespeare has admitted or 

I cannot but suspect that some other had new- 
modelled the novel of Cynthio, or written a story 
which in some particulars resembled it, and that 
Cynthio was not the author whom Shakespeare imme 
diately followed. The emperor in Cynthio is named 
Maximine ; the duke, in Shakespeare's enumeration 
of the persons of the drama, is called Vincentio. 
This appears a very slight remark ; but since the 
duke has no name in the play, nor is ever mentioned 
but by his title, why should he be called Vincentio 
among the persons, but because the name was copied 
from the story, and placed superfluously at the head 
of the list by the mere habit of transcription ? It is 
therefore likely that there was then a story of Vincentio 
<3fuke of Vienna, different from that of Maximine 
emperor of the Romans. 


Of this play the light or comic part is very natural 
and pleasing-, but the grave scenes, if a few passages 
be excepted, have more labour than elegance. The 
plofr is rather intricate than artful. The time of the 
action is indefinite ; some time, we know not how 
much, must have elapsed between the recess of the 
duke and the imprisonment of Claudio ; for he must 
have learned the story of Mariana in his disguise, or 
he delegated his power to a man already known to be 
corrupted. //The unities of action and place are suf 
ficiently preserved. 


In this play, which all the editors have concurred 
to censure, and some have rejected as unworthy of 
our poet, it must be confessed that there are many 
passagek mean, childish, and vulgar $ and some which 
ought not to have been exhibited, as we are told 
they were, to a maiden queen. But there are scat 
tered through the whole many sparks of genius ; nor 
is there any play that has more evident marks of the 
hand of Shakespeare. 



Wild and fantastical as this play is, all the parts in 
their various modes are well written, and give the 
kind of pleasure which the author designed. Fairies 
in his time were much in fashion ; common tradition 
had made them familiar, and Spenser's poem had 
made them great. 




It has been lately discovered, that this fable is taken 
from a story in the Pecorone of Giovanni Fiorentino, 
a novelist, who wrote in 1378. The story has been 
published in English, and I have epitomized the 
translation. The translator is of opinion, that the 
choice of the caskets is borrowed from a tale of 
Boccace, which I have likewise abridged, though I 
believe that Shakespeare must have had some other 
novel in view. 

Of the MERCHANT of VENICE the style is even and 

teasy, with few peculiarities of diction, or anomalies 
of construction. The comic part raises laughter, and 
the serious fixes expectation. The probability of 
either one or the other story cannot be maintained. 
The union of two actions in one event is in this 
drama eminently happy. Dry den was much pleased 
with his own address in connecting the two plots of 
his Spanish Friar, which yet, I believe, the critic 
will find excelled by this play. 


V ^- ' 


jM - 

Of this play the fable is wild and pleasing. I 
know not how the ladies will approve the facility 
with which both Rosalind and Celia give away their 
hearts. To Celia much may be forgiven for the 
heroism of her friendship. The character of Jaques 
is natural and well preserved. The comic dialogue 
is very sprightly, with less mixture of low buffoonery 
than in some other plays; and the graver part is 
elegant and harmonious. By hastening to the en^l 



of his work, Shakespeare suppressed the dialogue 
between the usurper and the hermit, and lost an op 
portunity of exhibiting a v moral lesson in which he 
might have found matter worthy of his highest 


Of this play the two plots are so well united, that 
they can hardly be called two without injury to the 
art with which they are interwoven. The attention 
is entertained with all the variety of a double plot, 
yet is not distracted by unconnected incidents. 

The part between Katharine and Petruchio is emi 
nently sprightly and diverting. At the marriage of 
Bianca the arrival of the real father, perhaps, pro 
duces more perplexity than pleasure. The whole 
play is very popular and diverting. 

. .r- \ v*$. J>*^* t 

(' '^f*> , & ^ I "-**\ 


. *' . '" ,./"' 

This play has many delightful scenes, though not 

dj sufficiently probable, and some happy characters, 
though not new, nor produced by any deep know 
ledge of human nature. Parolles is a boaster and a 
coward, such as has always been the sport of the 
stage, but perhaps never raised more laughter or con 
tempt than in the hands of Shakespeare. 

I cannot reconcile my heart to Bertram ; a man 
noble without generosity, and young without truth ; 
who marries Helen as a coward, and leaves her as a 

i profligate: when she is dead by his unkindness, 
fneaks home to a second marriage, is accused by a 

L 2 


woman whom he has wronged, Defends himself by 
falsehood, and is dismissed to happiness. 

The story of Bertram and Diana had been told be-// 
fore of Mariana and Angelo, and, to confess the truth^l 
scarcely merited to be heard.a second time. 


This play is in the graver part elegant and easy, 
and in some of the lighter scenes exquisitely hu 
morous. Ague-cheek is drawn with great propriety, 
but his character is, in a great measure, that of na 
tural fatuity, and is therefore not the proper prey of 
a satirist. The soliloquy of Malvolio is truly comic ; 
he is betrayed to ridicule merely by his pride. The 
marriage of Olivia, and the succeeding perplexity, 
though well enough contrived to divert on the stageTV 
wants credibility, and fails to produce the propeirin^ 
struction required in the drama, as it exhibits no Jast 
picture/of life. ^ 

" " ^ WINTER'S 'T^LE/ 

The story of this play is taken from the pleasant 
History of Dorastus and Fawnia, written by Robert 

This play, as Dr. Warburton justly observes, is, 
with all its absurdities, very entertaining. The cha 
racter of Autolycus is very naturally conceived, and 
strongly represented. 


This play is deservedly celebrated for the propriety 
of its fictions, and solemnity,- grandeur, and variety 
of its action, but it has no nice discriminations o 


v ' .-'^ C | : 



character | the events are too great to admit, the in 
fluence of particular dispositions, and the course of 
the action necessarily determines the conduct of the 

The danger of ambition is well described ; and I 
know not whether it may not be said, in defence of 
some parts which now seem improbable, that, in 
f^ Shakespeare's time, it was necessary to warn credu 
lity against vain and illusive predictions. 

The passions are directed to their true end. Lady 
Macbeth is merely detested ; and though the courage 
of Macbeth preserves some esteem, yet every reader 
rejoices at his fall. 


The tragedy of King John, though not written 
with the utmost power of Shakespeare, is varied with 
a very pleasing interchange, of incidents and cha 
racters. /The lady's grief is very affecting ; and the 
character of the bastard contains that mixture of 
greatness and levity which this author delighted to 


This play is extracted from the Chronicle of Holing- 
shed, in which many passages may be found which - ;-~ 
Shakespeare has, with very little alteration, trans 
planted into his scenes; particularly a speech of the 
bishop of Carlisle in defence of king Richard's un- 
alienable right, and immunity from human juris 

Jonson who, in his Catiline and Sejanus, has in- 
- serted many speeches from the Roman historians, was 


perhaps induced to that practice by the example of 
Shakespeare, who had condescended sometimes to copy 
more ignoble writers. But Shakespeare had more of 
his own than Jonson, and if he sometimes was willing 
to spare his labour, shewed by what he performed at 
other times, that his extracts were made by choice or 
idleness rather than necessity. 

This play is one of those which Shakespeare has ap 
parently revised; but as success in works of invention 
is not always proportionate to labour, it is not finished 
at last with the happy force of some other of his trage 
dies, nor can be said much to affect the passions, or 
enlarge the understandin 


I fancy every reader, when he ends this play, 
cries out with Desdemona, " O most lame and im- 
" potent conclusion !" As this play was not, to our 
knowledge, divided into acts by the author, I could 
be content to conclude it with the death of Henry 
the Fourth. 

In that Jerusalem shall Harry die. 

These scenes, which now make the fifth act of Henry 
the Fourth, might then be the first of Henry the Fifth; 
but the truth is, that they do unite very commodi- 
ously to either play. When these plays were repre 
sented, I believe they ended as they are now ended 
in the books; but Shakespeare seems to have designed 
that the whole series of action from the beginning of 
Richard the Second, to the end of Henry the Fifth, 
should be considered by the reader as one work, 


upon one plan, only broken into parts by the neces 
sity of exhibition. 

None of Shakespeare's plays are more read than the 
First and Second Parts of Henry the Fourth. Perhaps 
no author has ever in two plays afforded so much de 
light. The great events are interesting, for the fate 
of kingdoms depends upon them ; the slighter occur 
rences are diverting, and, except one or two, suffi 
ciently probable ; the incidents are multiplied with 
wonderful fertility of invention, and the characters 
diversified with the utmost nicety of discernmen^ and 
the profoundest skill in the nature of man. 

The prince, who is the hero both of the comic 
and tragic part, is a young man of great abilities 
and violent passions, whose sentiments are right, 
though his actions are wrong ; whose virtues are ob 
scured by negligence, and whose understanding is 
dissipated by levity. In his idle hours he is rather 
loose than wicked ; and when the occasion forces out 
*nis latent qualities, he is great without effort, and 
brave without tumult. The trifler is roused into a 
hero, and the hero again reposes in the trifler. This 
character is great, original, and just. 

Percy is a rugged soldier, choleric, and quarrel 
some, and has only the soldier's virtues, generosity and 
a ***<''* '*'** 

But Falstaff, unimitated, unimitable Falstaff, how 
shall I describe thee ? Thou compound of sense and 
vice; of sense which may be admired, but not 
esteemed; of vice which may be despised, but 
hardly detested. Falstaff is a character loaded with 
faults, and with those faults which naturally produce 
, contempt. He is a thief and a glutton, a coward 

r -^j 


and a boaster, always ready to cheat the weak, and 
prey upon the poor ; to terrify the timorous, and in 
sult the defenceless. At once obsequious and malig 
nant, he satirizes in their absence those whom he lives 
by flattering. He is familiar with the prince only as 
an agent of vice, but of this familiarity he is so proud 
as not only to be supercilious and haughty with com 
mon men, but to think his interest of importance to 
the duke of Lancaster, Yet ,the man thus corrupt, 
thus despicable, makes himself necessary to the prince 
that despises him, by themosl pleasing of all qualities, 
perpetual gaiety, by an unfailing 1 power of exciting 
hter, which is the more freely indulged, as his 
not of the splendid or ambitious kind, but 

\__,.* 1 ' '* ^.^.X^-C^-^* 1 T ""** **'" *~ 

consists in easy scapes and sallies of levity, which 
make sport, but raise no envy* It must be observed, 
he is stained with no enormous or sanguinary 

/ crimes, so that his licentiousness is not so offensive 

' but that it may be borne for his mirth. 

The moral to be drawn from this representation is, 
that no man is more dangerous than he that, with a 
will to corrupt, hath the power to please $ and that 
neither Vit nor honesty ought to think themselves 
safe with such a companion, when they see Henry 
seduced by Falstaff. 


This play has many scenes pf high dignity, and 
many of easy merriment. The character of the king 
is well supported, except in his courtship, where he 
has neither the vivacity of Hal, nor the grandeur of 
Henry. The humour of Pistol is very happily conti- 


nued : his character has perhaps been the model of 
all the bullies that have yet appeared on the English 

The lines given to the Chorus have many ad 
mirers ; but the truth is, that in them a little may 
be praised, and much must be forgiven : nor can it 
be easily discovered why the intelligence given by 
the Chorus is more necessary in this play than in many 
others where it is omitted. /The great defect of this 
play is the emptiness and narrowness of the last act, 
which a very little diligence might have easily 


Of this play there is no copy earlier than that of 
the folio in 1623, though the two succeeding parts 
are extant in two editions in quarto. That the 
second and third parts were published without the 
first, may be admitted as no weak proof that the 
copies were surreptitiously obtained, and that the 
printers of that time gave the public those plays, 
not such as the author designed, but such as they 
could get them. That this play was written be 
fore the two others is indubitably collected from the 
series of events ; that it was written and played be 
fore Henry the Fifth is apparent, because in the 
epilogue there is mention made of this play, and not 
of the other parts : 

Henry the sixth in swaddling bands crown'd king, 
Whose state so many had the managing 
That they lost France, and made his England bleed, 
Which oft our stage hath shewn. 


France is lost in this play. The two following con 
tain, as the old title imports, the contention of the 
houses of York and Lancaster. 

The second and third parts of Henry VI. were 
printed in 1600. When Henry V. was written, we 
know not, but it was printed likewise in 1600, and 
therefore before the publication of the first part : the 
first part of Henry VI. had been often shewn on the 
stage, and would certainly have appeared in its place 
had the author been the publisher. 


The three parts of Henry VI. are suspected, by 
Mr. Theobald, of being supposititious, and are de 
clared by Dr. Warburton, to be certainly not Shake 
speare's. Mr. Theobald's suspicion arises from some 
obsolete words ; but the phraseology is like the rest 
of our author's style, and single words, of which how 
ever I do not observe more than two, can conclude 

Dr. Warburton gives no reason, but I suppose him 
to judge upon deeper principles and more compre 
hensive views, and to draw his opinion from the ge 
neral effect and spirit of the composition, which he 
thinks inferior to the other historical plays. 

From mere inferiority nothing can be inferred ; 
in the productions of wit there will be iuemialitv. 

^"""- * . j|* 

Sometimes judgment will err, and sometimes the 
matter itself will defeat the artist. Of every author's 
works one will be the best, and one will be the 
worst. The colours are not equally pleasing, nor 
the attitudes equally graceful, in all the pictures of 
Titian or Reynolds, 


Dissimilitude f style, and heterogeneousness of 
sentiment, may sufficiently show that a work does 
not really belong- to the reputed author. But in 
these plays no such marks of spuriousness are found. 
The diction, the versification, and the figures, are 
Shakespeare's. These plays, considered, without 
regard to characters and incidents, merely as nar 
ratives in verse, are more happily conceived, and 
more accurately finished than those of King John, 
Richard II. or the tragic scenes of Henry IV. and V. 
If we take these plays from Shakespeare, to whom 
shall they be given ? What author of that age had 
the same easiness of expression and fluency of 
numbers ? 

Having considered the evidence given by the 
plays themselves, and found it in their favour, let 
us now inquire what corroboration can be gained 
from other testimony. They are ascribed to Shake 
speare by the first editors, whose attestation may be 
received in questions of fact, however unskilfully 
they superintended their edition. They seem to be 
declared genuine by the voice of Shakespeare him 
self, who refers to the second play in his epilogue 
to Henry V. and apparently connects the first act of 
Richard III. with the last of the third part of 
Henry VI. If it be objected, that the plays were po 
pular, and that therefore he alluded to them as well 
known ; it may be answered, with equal probabi 
lity, that the natural passions of a poet would have 
disposed him to separate his own works from those 
of an inferior hand. And, indeed, if an author's 
own testimony is to be overthrown by sj 


criticism, no man can be any longer secure of lite 
rary reputation. 

Of these three plays I think the second the best. 
The truth is, that they have not sufficient variety of 
action, for the incidents are too often of the same kind ; 
yet many of the characters are well discriminated. 
King- Henry, and his queen, king Edward, the duke 
of Gloucester, and the earl of Warwick, are very 
strongly and distinctly painted. 

The old copies of the two latter parts of Henry 
VI. and of Henry V. are so apparently imperfect and 
mutilated, that there is no reason for supposing them 
the first draughts of Shakespeare. I am inclined to V 
believe them copies taken by some auditor who wrote 
down, during the representation, what the time would 
permit, then perhaps filled up some of his omissions 
at a second or third hearing, and when he had by this 
method formed something like a play, sent it to the 


This is one of the most celebrated of our author's 
performances \ yet I know not whether it has not- 
happened to him as to others, to be praised most, 
when praise is. not most deserved. That this play 
has scenes noble in themselves, and very well Con 
trived to strike in the exhibition, cannot be denied. 
But some parts are trifling, others shocking, and some 

I have nothing to add to the observations of the 
learned critics, but that some traces of this anti 
quated exhibition are still retained in the rustic pup- 


pet-plays, in which I have seen the Devil very lustily 
belaboured by Punch, whom I hold to be the legiti 
mate successor of the old Vice. 


The play of Henry the Eighth is one of those which 
still keeps possession of the stage by the splendor of its 
pageantry. The coronation, about forty years ago, 
drew the people together in multitudes for a great 
part of the winter. Yet pomp is not the only merit 
of this play. The meek sorrows and virtuous distress 
of Katharine have furnished some scenes, which may 
be justly numbered among the greatest efforts of tra 
gedy. But the genius of Shakespeare comes in and 
goes out with Katharine. Every other part may be 
easily conceived, and easily written. 

The historical dramas are now concluded, of 
which the two parts of Henry the Fourth, and Henry 
the Fifth, are among the happiest of our author's com 
positions ; and King John, Richard the Third, and 
Henry the Eighth, deservedly stand in the second 
class. Those whose curiosity would refer the histori 
cal scenes to their original, may consult Holingshed, 
and sometimes Hall : from Holingshed, Shakespeare 
has often inserted whole speeches with no more altera 
tion than was necessary to the numbers of his verse. 
To transcribe them into the margin was unnecessary, 
because the original is easily examined, and they are 
seldom less perspicuous in the poet than in the histo 

To play histories, or to exhibit a succession of 
events by action and dialogue, was a common en- 


tertainment among our rude ancestors upon great 
festivities. The parish clerks once performed at 
Clerkenwell a play which lasted three days, contain-? 
ing The History of the World. 


The tragedy of Coriolanus is one of the most 
ing of our author's performances. The old man's 
riment in Menenius; the lofty lady's dignity in Volum- 
nia; the bridal modesty in Virgilia; the patrician and 
military haughtiness in Coriolanus; the plebeian malig 
nity, and tribunitian insolence in Brutus and Sicinius, 
make a very pleasing and interesting variety : and the 
various revolutions of the hero's fortune fill the mind 
with anxious curiosity. There is, perhaps, too much 
bustle in the first act, ^ind too tittle in the last. 


**} Of this tragedy many particular passages deserve 
regard, and the contention and reconcilement of Bru 
tus and Cassius is universally celebrated ; but I have 

\ never been strongly agitated in perusing it, and think 

\ it somewhat cold and unaffecting, compared with 

some other of Shakespeare's plays; his adherence to 

^ the real story, and to Roman manners, seems to have, 
impeded the natural vigour of his genius. 


This play keeps curiosity always busy, and the 
passions always interested. The continual hurry of 
the action, the variety of incidents, and the quick 


Succession of one personage to another, call the mind 
forward without intermission from the first act to the 
last. But the power of delighting is derived prin 
cipally from the frequent changes of the scene ; for 
except the feminine arts, some of which are too low, 
which distinguish Cleopatra, no character is very 
strongly discriminated. Upton, w^o did not easily y 
miss what he desired to find, has discovered that the 
language of Antony is, with great skill and learning, 
made pompous and superb, according to his real prac 
tice. But I think his diction not distinguishable 
from that of others: the most tumid speech in the 
play is that which Caesar makes to Octavia. 

The events, of which the principal are described 
according to history, are produced without any art 
of connexion or care of disposition. 


The play of Timon is a domestic tragedy, and 
therefore strongly fastens on the attention of the 
reader. In the plan there is not much art, but the 
incidents are natural, and the characters various and 
exact. The catastrophe affords a very powerful warn 
ing against that ostentatious liberality, which scatters 
bounty, but confers no benefits, and buys flattery, 
but not friendship. 

In this tragedy, are many passages perplexed, ob 
scure, and probably corrupt, which I have endea 
voured to rectify, or explain, with due diligence; 
but having only one copy, cannot promise myself 
that my endeavours shall be much applauded. 



All the editors and critics agree with Mr. Theo 
bald in supposing this play spurious. I see no rea 
son for differing from them ; for the colour of the 
style is wholly different from that of the other plays, 
and there is an attempt at regular versification, and 
artificial closes, not always inelegant, yet seldom 
pleasing. The barbarity of the spectacles, and the 
general massacre, which are here exhibited, can 
scarcely be conceived tolerable to any audience ; yet 
we are told by Jonson, that they were not only borne, 
- but praised. That Shakespeare wrote any part, 
though Theobald declares it incontestable, I see no 
reason for believing: 

The testimony produced at the beginning of this 
play, by which it is ascribed to Shakespeare, is by no 
means equal to the argument against its authenticity, 
arising from the total difference of conduct, lan 
guage, and sentiments, by which it stands apart 
from all the rest. Meres had probably no other evi 
dence, than that of a title-page, which, though in 
our time it be sufficient, was then of no great au 
thority ; for all the plays which were rejected by 
the first collectors of Shakespeare's works, and ad 
mitted in later editions, and again rejected by the 
critical editors, had Shakespeare's name on the title, 
as we must suppose, by the fraudulence of the print 
ers, who, while there were yet no gazettes, nor 
advertisements, nor any means of circulating literary 
intelligence, could usurp at pleasure any celebrated 
name. Nor had Shakespeare any interest in detecting 


the imposture, as none of his fame or profit was pro 
duced by the press. 

The chronology of this play does not prove it not 
to be Shakespeare's. If it had been written twenty- 
five years in 1614, it might have been written when 
Shakespeare was twenty-five years old. When he left 
Warwickshire I know not; but at the age of twenty- 
five it was rather too late to fly for deer-stealing. 

Ravenscroft, who in the reign of Charles II. revised 
this play, and restored it to the stage, tells us, in his 
preface, from a theatrical tradition, I suppose, which 
in his time might be of sufficient authority, that this 
play was touched in different parts by Shakespeare, but 
written by some other poet. I do not find Shake 
speare's touches very discernible. 


This play is more correctly written than most of 
Shakespeare's compositions, but it is not one of those 
in which either the extent of his views or elevation 
of his fancy is fully displayed. As the story abounded 
with materials, he has exerted little invention ; but he 
has diversified his characters with great variety, and 
preserved them with great exactness. His vicious 
characters sometimes disgust, but cannot corrupt, for 
both Cressida and Pandarus are detested and contemn 
ed. The comic characters seem to have been, the fa 
vourites of the writer ; they are of the superficial kind, 
and exhibit more of manners than nature; but they 
are copiously filled, and powerfully impressed. 

Shakespeare has in his story followed for the greater 
part the old book of Caxton, which was then very 



popular; but the character of Thersites, of which 
it makes no mention, is a proof that this play was 
written after Chapman had published his version of 


This play has many just sentiments, some natural 
dialogues, and some pleasing- scenes, but they are ob 
tained at the expence of much incongruity. To re 
mark the folly of the fiction, the absurdity of the con 
duct, the confusion of the names, and manners of 
different times, and the impossibility of the events in 
any system of life, were to waste criticism upon uri- 
resisting imbecility, upon faults too evident for de 
tection, and too gross for aggravation. 


The tragedy of Lear is deservedly celebrated 
among the dramas of Shakespeare. There is perhaps 
no play which keeps the attention so strongly fixed ; 
which so much agitates our passions, and interests 
our curiosity. The artful involutions of distinct in 
terests, the striking opposition of contrary characters, 
the sudden changes of fortune, and the quick suc 
cession of events, fill the mind with a perpetual tu 
mult of indignation, pity, and hope. There is no 
scene which does not contribute to the aggravation 
of the distress or conduct of the action, and scarce a 
line which does not conduce to the progress of the 
scene. So powerful is the current of the poet's ima 
gination, that the mind, which once ventures within 
it, is hurried irresistibly along. 


On the seeming improbability of Lear's conduct, 
it may be observed, that he i& represented according 
to histories at that time vulgarly received as true. 
And, perhaps, if we turn our thoughts upon the bar 
barity and ignorance of the age to which this story 
is referred, it will appear not so unlikely as while 
we estimate Lear's manners by our own. Such pre 
ference of one daughter to another, or resignation of 
dominion on such conditions, would be yet credible, 
if told of a petty prince of Guinea or Madagascar. 
Shakespeare, indeed, by the mention of his earls and 
dukes, has given us the idea of times more civilized, 
and of life regulated by softer manners; and the 
truth is, that though he so nicely discriminates, and 
so minutely describes the characters of men, he com 
monly neglects and confounds the characters of ages, 
by mingling customs ancient and modern, English 
and foreign. 

My learned friend Mr. Warton, who has in the 
Adventurer very minutely criticised this play, re 
marks, that the instances of cruelty are too savage 
and shocking, and that the intervention of Edmund 
destroys the simplicity of the story. These objections 
may, I think, be answered, by repeating, that the 
cruelty of the daughters is an historical fact, tp 
which the poet has added little, having only drawn it 
into a series by dialogue and action. But I am not 
able to apologize with equal plausibility for the ex 
trusion of Gloster's eyes, which seems an act too horrid 
to be endured in dramatic exhibition, and such as 
must always compel the mind to relieve its distress by 
incredulity. Yet let it be remembered that our au- 



thor well knew what would please the audience for 
which he wrote. 

The injury done by Edmund to the simplicity of 
the action is abundantly recompensed by the addition 
of variety, by the art with which he is made to co 
operate with the chief design, and the opportunity 
which he gives the poet of combining perfidy with 
perfidy, and connecting the wicked son with the 
wicked daughters, to impress this important moral, 
that villany is never at a stop, that crimes lead to 
crimes, and at last terminate in ruin. 

But though this moral be incidentally enforced, 
Shakespeare has suffered the virtue of Cordelia to 
perish in a just cause, contrary to 1>he natural ideas of 
justice, to the hope of the reader, and, what is yet 
more strange, to the faith of chronicles. Yet this 
conduct is justified by The Spectator, who blames 
Tate for giving Cordelia success and happiness in his 
alteration, and declares that, in his opinion, " the 
"tragedy has lost half its beauty." Dennis has re 
marked, whether justly or not, that, to secure the fa 
vourable reception of Cato, " the town was poisoned 
" with much false and abominable criticism," and 
that endeavours had been used to discredit and decry 
poetical justice. A play in which the wicked prosper, 
and the virtuous miscarry, may doubtless be good, be 
cause it is a just representation of the common events 
of human life : but since all reasonable beings naturally 
love justice, I cannot easily be persuaded that the ob 
servation of justice makes a play worse ; or that, if 
other excellencies are equal, the audience will not 
always rise better pleased from the final triumph of 
persecuted virtue. 


In the present case the public has decided. Cor 
delia, from the time of Tate, has always retired with 
victory and felicity. And, if my sensations could add 
any thing to the general suffrage, I might relate, I 
was many years ago so shocked by Cordelia's death, 
that I know not whether I ever endured to read again 
the last scenes of the play till I undertook to revise 
them as an editor. 

There is another controversy among the critics 
concerning this play. It is disputed whether the pre 
dominant image in Lear's disordered mind be the loss 
of his kingdom or the cruelty of his daughters. Mr. 
Murphy, a very judicious critic, has evinced by in 
duction of particular passages, that the cruelty of his 
daughters is the primary source of his distress, and 
that the loss of royalty affects him only as a secondary 
and subordinate evil. He observes with great just 
ness, that Lear would move our compassion but little, 
did we not rather consider the injured father than 
the degraded king. 

The story of this play, except the episode of Ed 
mund, which is derived, I think, from Sidney, is 
taken originally from Geoffry of Monmouth, whom 
Holingshed generally copied ; but perhaps immedi 
ately from an old historical ballad. My reason for 
believing that the play was posterior to the ballad, 
rather than the ballad to the play, is, that the ballad 
has nothing of Shakespeare's nocturnal tempest, which 
is too striking to have been omitted, and that it fol 
lows the chronicle ; it has the rudiments of the play, 
but none of its amplifications : it first hinted Lear's 
madness, but did not array it in circumstances. The 
writer of the ballad added something to the history, 


which is a proof that he would have added more, if 
more had occurred to his mind, and more must have 
occurred if he had seen Shakespeare. 


This play is one of the most pleasing of our au 
thor's performances. The scenes are busy and va 
rious, the incidents numerous and important, the 
catastrophe irresistibly affecting,< and the process of 
the action carried on with such probability, at least 
with such congruity to popular opinions, as tragedy 

Here is one of the few attempts of Shakespeare to 
exhibit the conversation of gentlemen, to represent 
the airy sprightliness of juvenile elegance. Mr. Dryden 
mentions a tradition, which might easily reach his 
time, of a declaration made by Shakespeare, that " he 
" was obliged to kill Mercutio in the third act, lest 
" he should have been killed by him." Yet bethinks 
him " no such formidable person, but that he might 
" have lived through the play, and died in his bed," 
without danger to a poet. Dryden well knew, had 
he been in quest of truth, that, in a pointed sentence, 
more regard is commonly had to the words than the 
thought, and that it is very seldom to be rigorously 
understood. Mercutio's wit, gaiety, and courage, 
will always procure him friends that wish him a 
longer life ; but his death is not precipitated, he has 
lived out the time allotted him in the construction of 
the play; nor do I doubt the ability of Shake 
speare to have continued his existence, though some 


of his sallies are perhaps out of the reach of Dryden; 
whose genius was not very fertile of merriment, nor 
ductile to humour, but acute, argumentative, com 
prehensive, and sublime. 

The Nurse is one of the characters in which the 
author delighted ; he has, with great subtilty of dis 
tinction, drawn her at once loquacious and secret, ob 
sequious and insolent, trusty and dishonest. 

His comic scenes are happily wrought, but his 
pathetic strains are always polluted with some unex 
pected depravations. His persons, however distressed, 
have a conceit left them in their misery, a miserable 


If the dramas of Shakespeare were to be character 
ised, each by the particular excellence which distin 
guishes it from the rest, we must allow to the tra 
gedy of Hamlet the praise of variety. The incidents 
are so numerous, that the argument of the play would 
make a long tale. The scenes are interchangeably 
diversified with merriment and solemnity ; with 
merriment, that includes judicious and instructive 
observations ; and solemnity, not strained by poetical 
violence above the natural sentiments of man. New 
characters appear from time to time in continual suc 
cession, exhibiting various forms of life and particular 
modes of conversation. The pretended madness of 
Hamlet causes much mirth, the mournful distraction 
of Ophelia fills the heart with tenderness, and every 
personage produces the effect intended, from the ap 
parition that in the first act chills the blood with hor- 


ror, to the fop in the last, that exposes affectation to 
just contempt. 

The conduct is perhaps not wholly secure against 
objections. The action is indeed for the most part in 
continual progression, but there are some scenes which 
neither forward nor retard it. Of the feigned mad 
ness of Hamlet there appears no adequate cause, for 
he does nothing which he might not have done with 
the reputation of sanity. He plays the madman most, 
when he treats Ophelia with so much rudeness, which 
seems to be useless and wanton cruelty. 

Hamlet is, through the whole piece, rather an in 
strument than an agent. After he has, by the stra 
tagem of the play, convicted the king, he makes no 
attempt to punish him; and his death is at last ef 
fected by an incident which Hamlet had no part in 

The catastrophe is not very happily produced ; the 
exchange of weapons is rather an expedient of neces- 
sity, than a stroke of art. A scheme might easily 
have been formed to kill Hamlet with the dagger, 
and Laertes with the bowl, 

The poet is accused of having shewn little regard 
to poetical justice, and may be charged with equal 
neglect of poetical probability. The apparition left 
the regions of the dead to little purpose; the revenge 
which he demands is not obtained, but by the death 
of him that was required to take it ; and the gratifi 
cation, which would arise from the destruction of an 
usurper and a murderer, is abated by the untimely 
death of Ophelia, the young, the beautiful, the harm* 
less, and the pious. 



The beauties of this play impress themselves so 
strongly upon the attention of the reader, that they 
can draw no aid from critical illustration. The 
fiery openness of Othello, magnanimous, artless, and 
credulous, boundless in his confidence, ardent in his 
affection, inflexible in his resolution, and obdurate in 
his revenge; the cool malignity of lago, silent in his 
resentment, subtle in his designs, and studious at once 
of his interest and his vengeance ; the soft simplicity 
of Desdemona, confident of merit, and conscious of in 
nocence, her artless perseverance in her suit, and her 
slowness to suspect that she can be suspected, are such 
proofs of Shakespeare's skill in human nature, as, I 
suppose, it is vain to seek in any modern writer. The 
gradual progress which lago makes in the Moor's 
conviction, and the circumstances which he employs 
to inflame him, are so artfully natural, that, though 
it will perhaps not be said of him as he says of him 
self, that he is a man not easily jealous, yet we cannot 
but pity him, when at last we find him perplexed in 
the extreme. 

There is always danger, lest wickedness, conjoined 
with abilities, should steal upon esteem, though it 
misses of approbation ; but the character of lago is so 
conducted, that he is from the first scene to the last 
hated and despised. 

Even the inferior characters of this play would be 
very conspicuous in any other piece, not only for their 
justness, but their strength. Cassio is brave, benevo 
lent, and honest, ruined only by his want of stubborn- 


ness to resist an insidious invitation. Roderigo's sus 
picious credulity, and impatient submission to the 
cheats which he sees practised upon him, and which 
by persuasion he suffers to be repeated, exhibit a 
strong picture of a weak mind betrayed by unlawful 
desires to a false friend ; and the virtue of ./Emilia is 
such as we often find worn loosely, but not cast off, 
easy to commit small crimes, but quickened and 
alarmed at atrocious villanies. 

The scenes from the beginning to the end are Busy, 
varied by happy interchanges, and regularly promot 
ing the progression of the story; and the narrative in 
the end, though it tells but what is known already, 
yet is necessary to produce the death of Othello. 

Had the scene opened in Cyprus, and the preceding 
incidents been occasionally related, there had been 
little wanting to a drama of the most exact and scru 
pulous regularity. 




JLO solicit a subscription for a catalogue of books 
exposed to sale, is an attempt for which some apology 
cannot but be necessary; for few would willingly 
contribute to the expence of volumes, by which 
neither instruction nor entertainment could be af 
forded, from which only the bookseller could expect 
advantage, and of which the only use must cease, at 
the dispersion of the library. 

Nor could the reasonableness of an universal rejec 
tion of our proposal be denied, if this catalogue were 
to be compiled with no other view, than that of pro 
moting the sale of the books which it enumerates, and 
drawn up with that inaccuracy and confusion which 
may be found in those that are daily published. 

But our design, like our proposal, is uncommon, 
and to be prosecuted at a very uncommon expence ; 
it being intended, that the books shall be distributed 
into their distinct classes, and every class ranged with 
some regard to the age of the writers; that every 


book shall be accurately described ; that the peculia 
rities of editions shall be remarked, and observations 
from the authors of literary history occasionally inter 
spersed; that, by this catalogue, we may inform pos 
terity of the excellence and value of this great collec 
tion, and promote the knowledge of scarce books, and 
elegant editions. For this purpose men of letters are 
engaged, who cannot even be supplied with amanu 
enses, but at an expence above that of a common ca 

To shew that this collection deserves , particular 
degree of regard from the learned and the studious, 
that it excels any library that was ever yet offered to 
public sale in the value as well as number of the 
volumes which it contains ; and that therefore this ca 
talogue will not be of less use to men of letters, than 
those of the Thuanian, Heinsian, or Barberinian libra 
ries, it may not be improper to exhibit a general ac 
count of the different classes, as they are naturally di 
vided by the several sciences. 

By this method we can indeed exhibit only a gene 
ral idea, at once magnificent and confused ; an idea of 
the writings of many nations, collected from distant 
parts of the world, discovered sometimes by chance, 
and sometimes by curiosity, amidst the rubbish of for 
saken monasteries, and the repositories of ancient fa 
milies, and brought hither from every part, as to the 
universal receptacle of learning. 

It will be no unpleasing effect of this account, if 
those, that shall happen to peruse it, should be in 
clined by it to reflect on the character of the late 
proprietors, and to pay some tribute of veneration 


to their ardour for literature, to that generous and 
exalted curiosity which they gratified with incessant 
searches and immense expence, and to which they de 
dicated that time, and that superfluity of fortune, which 
many others of their rank employ in the pursuit of 
contemptible amusements, or the gratification of guilty 
passions. And, surely, every man, who considers 
learning as ornamental and advantageous to the com 
munity, must allow them the honour of public bene 
factors, who have introduced amongst us authors not 
hitherto well known, and added to the literary trea 
sures of their native country. 

That our catalogue will excite any other man to 
emulate the collectors of this library, to prefer books 
and manuscripts to equipage and luxury, and to for 
sake noise and diversion for the conversation of the 
learned, and the satisfaction of extensive knowledge, 
we are very far from presuming to hope; but shall 
make no scruple to assert, that, if any man should 
happen to be seized with such laudable ambition, he 
may find in this catalogue hints and informations 
which are not easily to be met with ; he will discover, 
that the boasted Bodleian library is very far from a 
perfect model, and that even the learned Fabricius 
cannot completely instruct him in the early editions 
of the classic writers. 

But the collectors of libraries cannot be numerous ; 
and, therefore, catalogues cannot very properly be 
recommended to the public, if they had not a more 
general and frequent use, an use which every student 
has experienced, or neglected to his loss. By the 
means of catalogues only can it be known, what has 
been written on every part of learning, and the ha- 


zard avoided of encountering 1 difficulties which have 
already been cleared, discussing questions which have 
already been decided, and digging in mines of litera 
ture which former ages have exhausted. 

How often this has been the fate of students, every 
man of letters can declare ; and, perhaps, there are 
very few who have not sometimes valued as new dis 
coveries, made by themselves, those observations, 
which have long since been published, and of which 
the world therefore will refuse them the praise ; nor 
can the refusal be censured as any enormous violation 
of justice; for, why should they not forfeit by their 
ignorance, what they might claim hy their sagacity ? 

To illustrate this remark by the mention of obscure 
names, would not much confirm it; and to vilify for 
this purpose the memory of men truly great, would 
be to deny them the reverence which they may justly 
claim from those whom their writings have instructed. 
May the shade at least, of one great English critic 
rest without disturbance; and may no man presume 
to insult his memory, who wants his learning, his 
reason, or his 'wit. 

From the vexatious' disappointment of meeting re 
proach, where praise is expected, every man will cer 
tainly desire to be secured ; and therefore that book 
will have some claim to his regard, from which he 
may receive informations of the labours of his prede 
cessors, such as a catalogue of the Harleian library 
will copiously afford him. 

Nor is the use of catalogues of less importance to 
those whom curiosity has engaged in the study of li 
terary history, and who think the intellectual revolu 
tions of the world more worthy of their attention, than 


the ravages of tyrants, the desolation of kingdoms, the 
rout of armies, and the fall of empires. Those who 
are pleased with observing 1 the first birth of new opi 
nions, their struggles against opposition, their silent 
progress under persecution,their general reception, and 
their gradual decline, or sudden extinction ; those that 
amuse themselves with remarking the different periods 
of human knowledge, and observe how darkness and 
light succeed each other j by what accident the most 
gloomy nights of ignorance have given way in the 
dawn of science, and how learning has languished and 
decayed, for want of patronage and regard, or been 
overborne by the prevalence of fashionable ignorance, 
or lost amidst the tumults of invasion, and the storms 
of violence. All those who desire any knowledge of 
the literary transactions of past ages, may find in ca 
talogues, like this at least, such an account as is given 
by annalists, and chronologers of civil history. 

How the knowledge of the sacred writings has been 
diffused, will be observed from the catalogue of the 
various editions of the bible, from the first impression 
by Fust, in 1462, to the present time ; in which will 
be contained the polyglot editions of Spain, France, 
and England, those of the original Hebrew, the Greek 
Septuagint, and the Latin Vulgate; with the versions 
which are now used in the remotest parts of Europe, 
in the country of the Grisons, in Lithuania, Bohemia, 
Finland, and Iceland. 

With regard to the attempts of the same kind made 
in our own country, there are few whose expectations 
will not be exceeded by the number of English bibles, 
of which not one is forgotten, whether valuable for 


the pomp and beauty of the impression, or for the 
notes with which the- text is accompanied, or for any 
controversy or persecution that it produced, or for the 
peculiarity of any single passage. With the same care 
have the various editions of the book of common- 
prayer been selected, from which all the alterations 
which have been made in it may be easily remarked. 

Amongst a great number of Roman missals and 
breviaries, remarkable for the beauty of their cuts and 
illuminations, will be found the Mosorabic missal and 
breviary, that raised such commotions in the kingdom 
of Spain. 

The controversial treatises written in England, 
about the time of the Reformation, have been dili 
gently collected, with a multitude of remarkable 
tracts, single sermons, and small treatises; which, 
however worthy to be preserved, are, perhaps, to be 
found in no other place. 

The regard which was always paid, by^ the collec 
tors of this library, to that remarkable period of time, 
in which the art of printing was invented, determined 
them to accumulate the ancient impressions of the fa 
thers of the church ; to which the later editions are 
added, lest antiquity should have seemed more worthy 
of esteem than accuracy. 

History has been considered with the regard due to 
that study by which the manners are most easily form 
ed, and from which the most efficacious instruction is 
received ; nor will the most extensive curiosity fail 
of gratification in this library \ from which no writers 
have been excluded, that relate either to the religious 
or civil affairs of any nation. 


Not only those authors of ecclesiastical history have 
been procured, that treat of the state of religion in ge 
neral, or deliver accounts of sects or nations, but those 
likewise who have confined themselves to particular 
orders of men in every church ; who have related the 
original, and the rules of every society, or recounted 
the lives of its founder and its members; those who 
have deduced in every country the succession of bishops, 
and those who have employed their abilities in cele 
brating the piety of particular saints, or martyrs, or 
monks, or nuns. 

The civil history of all nations has been amassed 
together ; nor is it easy to determine which has been 
thought most worthy of curiosity. 

Of France, not only the general histories and an 
cient chronicles, the accounts of celebrated reigns, 
and narratives of remarkable events, but even the 
memorials of single families, the lives of private men, 
the antiquities of particular cities, churches, and mo 
nasteries, the topography of provinces, and the ac 
counts of laws, customs, and prescriptions, are here 
to be found. 

The several states of Italy have, in this treasury, 
their particular historians, whose accounts are, perhaps, 
generally more exact, by being less extensive ; and 
more interesting, by being more particular. 

Nor has less regard been paid to the different na 
tions of the Germanic empire, of which neither the 
Bohemians, nor Hungarians, nor Austrians, nor Bava 
rians, have been neglected ; nor have their antiquities, 
however generally disregarded, been less studiously 
searched, than their present state. 



The northern nations have supplied this collection, 
not only with history, but poetry, with Gothic anti 
quities, and Runic inscriptions; which at least have 
this claim to veneration, above the remains of the 
Roman magnificence, that they are the works of those 
heroes by whom the Roman empire was destroyed ; 
and which may plead, at least in this nation, that 
they ought not to be neglected by those that owe to 
the men whose memories they preserve, their consti 
tution, their properties, and their liberties. 

The curiosity of these collectors extends equally to 
all parts of the world ; nor did they forget to add 
to the northern the southern writers, or to axiom their 
collection with chronicles of Spain, and the conquest 
of Mexico. 

Even of those nations with which we have less in 
tercourse, whose customs are less accurately known, 
and whose history is less distinctly recounted, there 
are in this library reposited such accounts as the Eu 
ropeans have been hitherto able to obtain \ nor are 
the Mogul, the Tartar, the Turk, and the Saracen, 
without their historians. 

That persons so inquisitive with regard to the trans 
actions of other nations, should inquire yet more ar 
dently after the history of their own, may be naturally 
expected ; and, indeed, this part of the library is no 
common instance of diligence and accuracy. Here 
are to be found, with the ancient chronicles, and larger 
histories of Britain, the narratives of single reigns, and 
the accounts of remarkable revolutions, the topogra 
phical histories of counties, the pedigrees of families, 
the antiquities of churches and cities, the proceedings 


of parliaments, the records of monasteries, and the 
lives of particular men, whether eminent in the church 
or the state, or remarkable in private life ; whether 
exemplary for their virtues, or detestable for their 
crimes ; whether persecuted for religion, or executed 
for rebellion. 

That memorable period of the English history, 
which begins with the reign of king Charles the First, 
and ends with the Restoration, will almost furnish a 
library alone, such is the number of volumes, pam 
phlets, and papers, which were published by either 
party ; and such is the care with which they have 
been preserved. 

Nor is history without the necessary preparatives, 
and attendants, geography and chronology : of geo 
graphy, the best writers and delineators have been ; 
procured, and pomp and accuracy have both been re 
garded : the student of chronology may here find like 
wise those authors who searched the records of ( time, 
and fixed the periods of history. 

With the historians and geographers may be ranked 
the writers of voyages and travels, which may be read 
here in the Latin, English, Dutch, German, French, 
Italian, and Spanish languages. 

The laws of different countries, as they are in them 
selves equally worthy of curiosity with their history, 
have, in this collection, been justly regarded ; and 
the rules by which the various communities of the 
world are governed, may be here examined and com 
pared. Here are the ancient editions of the papal de 
cretal^, and the commentators on the civil law, the 
edicts of Spain, and the statutes of Venice, 



But with particular industry have the various 
writers on the laws of our own country been collected, 
from the most ancient to the present time, from the 
bodies of the statutes to the minutest treatise ; not 
only the reports, precedents, and readings of our own 
courts, but even the laws of our West-Indian colonies, 
will be exhibited in our catalogue. 

But neither history nor law have been so far able 
to engross this library, as to exclude physic, philo 
sophy, or criticism. Those have been thought, with 
justice, worthy of a place, who have examined the 
different species of animals, delineated their forms, 
or described their properties and instincts; or who 
have penetrated the bowels of the earth, treated on 
its different strata, and analyzed its metals ; or who 
have amused themselves with less laborious specula 
tions, and planted trees, or cultivated flowers. 

Those that have exalted their thoughts above the 
minuter parts of the creation, who have observed the 
motions of the heavenly bodies, and attempted sys 
tems of the universe, have not been denied the honour 
which they deserved by so great an attempt, whatever 
has been their success. Nor have those mathema 
ticians been rejected, who have applied their science 
to the common purposes of life ; or those that have 
deviated into the kindred arts, of tactics, architec 
ture, and fortification. 

Even arts of far less importance have found their 
authors, nor have these authors been despised by the 
boundless curiosity of the proprietors^ the Harleian 
library. The writers on horsemanship and fencing 
are more numerous, and more bulky, than could be 


expected by those who reflect how seldom those excel 
in either, whom their education has qualified to com 
pose books. 

The admirer of Greek and Roman literature will 
meet, in this collection, with editions little known to 
the most inquisitive critics, and which have escaped 
the observation of those whose great employment has 
been the collation of copies -, nor will he find only the 
most ancient editions of Faustus, Jenson, Spira, Sweyn- 
heim, and Pannartz, but the most accurate likewise 
and beautiful of Colinseus, the Juntae, Plantin, Aldus, 
the Stephens', and Elzevir, with the commentaries and 
observations of the most learned editors. 

Nor are they accompanied only with the illustra 
tions of those who have confined their attempts to 
particular writers, but of those likewise who have 
treated on any part of the Greek or Roman antiquities, 
their laws, their customs, their dress, their buildings, 
their wars, their revenues, or the rites and ceremonies 
of their worship, and those that have endeavoured to 
explain any of their authors from their statues or their 

Next to the ancients, those writers deserve to be 
mentioned, who, at the restoration of literature, imi 
tated their language and their style with so great suc 
cess, or who laboured with so much industry to make 
them understood : such were Philelphus and Politian, 
Scaliger and Buchanan, and the poets of the age of 
Leo the Tenth ; these are likewise to be found in this 
library, together with the Deliciee, or collections of 
all nations. 

Painting is so nearly allied to poetry, that it can- 


not be wondered that those who have so much 
esteemed the one, have paid an equal regard to the 
other ; and therefore it may be easily imagined, that 
the collection of prints is numerous in ah uncommon 
degree; but surely, the expectation of every man 
will be exceeded, when he is informed that there are 
more than forty thousand engraven from Raphael, Ti 
tian, Guido, the Carraches, and a thousand others, by 
Nanteuil, Hollar, Collet, Edelinck, and Dorigny, and 
other engravers of equal reputation. 

There is also a great collection of original draw 
ings, of which three seem to deserve a particular 
mention; the first exhibits a representation of the 
inside of St. Peter's church at Rome; the second of 
that of St. John Lateran; and the third of the high 
altar of St. Ignatius ; all painted with the utmost ac 
curacy, in their proper colours. 

As the value of this great collection may be con 
ceived from this account, however imperfect, as the 
variety of subjects must engage the curiosity of men 
of different studies, inclinations, and employments, 
it may be thought of very little use to mention any 
slighter advantages, or to dwell on the decorations 
and embellishments which the generosity of the pro 
prietors has bestowed upon it ; yet, since the compiler 
of the Thuanian catalogue thought not even that 
species of elegance below his observation, it may not 
be improper to observe, that the Harleian library, per 
haps, excels all others, not more in the number and 
excellence, than in the splendor of its volumes. 

We may now surely be allowed to hope, that our 
catalogue will not be thought unworthy of the pub- 


lie curiosity; that it will be purchased as a record 
of this great collection, and preserved as one of the 
memorials of learning 1 . 

The patrons of literature will forgive the pur 
chaser of this library, if he presumes to assert some 
claim to their protection and encouragement, as he 
may have been instrumental in continuing to this na 
tion the advantage of it. The sale of Vossius's collec 
tion into a foreign country, is, to this day, regretted 
by men of letters ; and if this effort for the preven 
tion of another loss of the same kind should be disad 
vantageous to him, no man will hereafter willingly 
risk his fortune in the cause of learning. 


, f . / ESSAY "^^T^& 







JL HOUGH the scheme of the following Miscellany is 
so obvious, that the title alone is sufficient to explain 
it; and though several collections have been formerly 
attempted upon plans, as to the method, very little, 
but, as to the capacity and execution, very different 
from ours ; we being possessed of the greatest variety 
for such a work, hope for a more general reception 
than those confined schemes had the fortune to meet 
with ; and, therefore, think it not wholly unnecessary 
to explain our intentions, to display the treasure of 
materials out of which this miscellany is to be com 
piled, and to exhibit a general idea of the pieces 
which we intend to insert in it. 

There is, perhaps, no nation in which it is so 
necessary, as in our own, to assemble from time 


to time, the small tracts and fugitive pieces, which 
are occasionally published; for, besides the general 
subjects of inquiry, which are cultivated by us, in 
common with every other learned nation, our consti 
tution in church and state naturally gives birth to a 
multitude of performances, which would either not 
have been written, or could not have been made pub 
lic in any other place. 

The form of our government, which gives every 
man, that has leisure, or curiosity, or vanity, the right 
of inquiring into the propriety of public measures, 
and, by consequence, obliges those who are intrusted 
with the administration of national affairs, to give an 
account of their conduct to almost every man who de 
mands it, may be reasonably imagined to have occa 
sioned innumerable pamphlets, which would never 
have appeared under arbitrary governments, where 
every man lulls himself in indolence under calamities, 
of which he cannot promote the redress, or thinks it 
prudent to conceal the uneasiness, of which he cannot 
complain without danger. 

The multiplicity of religious sects tolerated among 
us, of which every one has found opponents and vin 
dicators, is another source of unexhaustible publica 
tion, almost peculiar to ourselves; for controversies 
cannot be long continued, nor frequently revived, 
where an inquisitor has a right to shut up the dispu 
tants in dungeous ; or where silence can be imposed 
on either party, by the refusal of a licence. 

Not that it should be inferred from hence, that po 
litical or religious controversies are the only products 
of the liberty of the British press ; the^ mind once let 



loose to inquiry, and suffered to operate without re 
straint, necessarily deviates into peculiar opinions, and 
wanders in new tracts, where she is indeed sometimes 
lost in a labyrinth, from which though she cannot re 
turn, and scarce knows how to proceed ; yet, some 
times, makes useful discoveries, or finds out nearer 
paths to knowledge. 

The boundless liberty with which every man may 
write his own thoughts, and the opportunity of con 
veying new sentiments to the public, without dan 
ger of suffering either ridicule or censure, which 
every man may enjoy, whose vanity does not incite 
him too hastily to own his performances, naturally 
invites those who employ themselves in speculation, 
to try how their notions will be received by a nation, 
which exempts caution from fear, and modesty from 
ishame ; and it is no wonder, that where reputa 
tion may be gained, but needs not be lost, multi 
tudes are willing to try their fortune, and thrust 
their opinions into the light; sometimes with un 
successful haste, and sometimes with happy teme 

It is observed, that, among the natives of Eng 
land, is to be found a greater variety of humour, 
than in any other country; and, doubtless, where 
every man has a full liberty to propagate his con 
ceptions, variety of humour must produce variety 
of writers; and, where the number of authors is 
so great, there cannot but be some worthy of dis 

All these, and many other causes, too tedious to 
be enumerated, have contributed to make pamphlets 


and small tracts a very important part of an English 
'library; nor are there any pieces, upon which those, 
who aspire to the reputation of judicious collectors of 
books, bestow more attention, or greater expence; 
because many advantages may be expected from the 
perusal of these small productions, which are scarcely 
to be found in that of larger works. 

If we regard history, it is well known, that most 
political treatises have for a long time appeared in this 
form, and that the first relations of transactions, while 
they are yet the subject of conversation, divide the 
opinions, and employ the conjectures of mankind, are 
delivered by these petty writers, who have opportuni 
ties of collecting the different sentiments of disputants, 
of inquiring the truth from living witnesses, and of 
copying their representations from the life; and, 
therefore, they preserve a multitude of particular in^ 
cidents, which are forgotten in a short time, or omit 
ted in formal relations, and which are yet to be consi 
dered as sparks of truth, which, when united, may af 
ford light in some of the darkest scenes of state, as we 
doubt not, will be sufficiently proved in the course of 
this miscellany ; and which it is, therefore, the inte 
rest of the public to preserve unextinguished. 

The same observation may be extended to subjects 
of yet more importance. In controversies that relate 
to the truths of religion, the first essays of reformation 
are generally timorous ; and those who have opinions 
to offer, which they expect to be opposed, produce 
their sentiments, by degrees, and, for the most part, 
in small tracts: by degrees, that they may not shock 
their readers with too many novelties at once ; and in 


small tracts, that they may be easily dispersed, or pri 
vately printed : almost every controversy, therefore, 
has been, for a time, carried on in pamphlets, nor has 
swelled into larger volumes, till the first ardor of the 
disputants has subsided, and they have recollected 
their notions with coolness enough to digest them 
into order, consolidate them into systems, and fortify 
them with authorities. 

From pamphlets, consequently, are to be learned 
the progress of every debate; the various states to 
which the questions have been changed; the artifices 
and fallacies which have been used, and the subter 
fuges by which reason has been eluded: in such writ 
ings may be seen how the mind has been opened 
by degrees, how one truth has led to another, how 
error has been disentangled, and hints improved to 
demonstration, which pleasure, and many others, are 
lost by him that only reads the larger writers, by 
whom these scattered sentiments are collected, who 
will see none of the changes of fortune which every 
opinion has passed through, will have no opportu 
nity of remarking the transient advantages which 
error may sometimes obtain, by the artifices of its 
patron, or the successful rallies by which truth re 
gains the day, after a repulse; but will be to him, 
who traces the dispute through its particular gra 
dations, as he that hears of a victory, to him that sees 
the battle. 

Since the advantages of preserving these small 
tracts are so numerous, our attempt to unite them in 
volumes cannot be thought either useless or unseason 
able; for there is no other method of securing them 


from accidents ; and they have already been so long" 
neglected, that this design cannot be delayed, with 
out hazarding the loss of many pieces, which deserve 
to be transmitted to another age. 

The practice of publishing pamphlets on the most 
important subjects, has now prevailed more than two 
.centuries among us ; and therefore it cannot be doubt 
ed, but that, as no large collections have been yet 
made, many crrious tracts must have perished ; but 
it is too late to lament that loss ; nor ought we to re 
flect upon it with any other view than that of quick 
ening our endeavours for the preservation of those 
that yet remain; of which we have now a greater 
number than was, perhaps, ever amassed by any one 

The first appearance of pamphlets among us, is 
generally thought to be at the new opposition raised 
against the errors and corruptions of the church of 
Rome. Those who were first convinced of the rea 
sonableness of the new 7 learning, as it was then called, 
propagated their opinions in small pieces, which were 
cheaply printed ; and, what was then of great inport- 
ance, easily concealed. These treatises were gene 
rally printed in foreign countries, and are not, there 
fore, always very correct. There was not then that 
opportunity of printing in private ; for the number of 
printers was small, and the presses were easily over 
looked by the clergy, who spared no labour or vigi 
lance for the suppression of heresy. There is, how 
ever, reason to suspect, that some attempts were made 
to carry on the propagation of truth by a secret press; 
for one of the first treatises in favour of the Reforma- 


tion, is said, at the end, to be printed at Greenwich, 
by the permission of the Lord of Hosts. 

In the time of king Edward the Sixth, the presses 
were employed in favour of the reformed religion, and 
small tracts were dispersed over the nation, to recon 
cile them to the new forms of worship. In this reign, 
likewise, political pamphlets may be said to have been 
begun, by the address of the rebels of Devonshire; 
all which means of propagating the sentiments of the 
people so disturbed the court, that no sooner was 
queen Mary resolved to reduce her subjects to the 
Romish superstition, but she artfully, by a charter*, 
granted to certain freemen of London, in whose fide 
lity, no doubt, she confided, entirely prohibited all 
presses, but what should be licensed by them ; which 
charter is that by which the corporation of Stationers 
in London is at this time incorporated. 

Under the reign of queen Elizabeth, when liberty 
again began to flourish, the practice of writing pam 
phlets became more general ; presses were multiplied, 
and books were dispersed ; and, I believe, it may pro 
perly be said, that the trade of writing began at that 
time, and that it has ever since gradually increased in 
the number, though, perhaps, not in the style of those 
that followed it. 

In this reign was erected the first secret press against 
the church as now established, of which I have found 
any certain account. It was employed by the Puri- 

* Which begins thus, ' Know ye, that We, considering and raa- 
nifestly perceiving, that several seditious and heretical books or 
' tracts against the faith and sound catholic doctrine of holy mo- 
* ther, the church/ &c. 


tans, and conveyed from one part of the nation to 
another, by them, as they found themselves in dan 
ger of discovery. From this press issued most of the 
pamphlets against Whitgift and his associates, in the 
ecclesiastical government ; and, when it was at last 
seized at Manchester, it was employed upon a pam 
phlet called More Work fora Cooper. 

In the peaceable reign of king James, those minds 
which might, perhaps, with less disturbance of the 
world, have been engrossed by war, were employed 
in controversy ; and writings of all kinds were multi 
plied among us. The press, however, was not wholly 
engaged in polemical performances, for more inno 
cent subjects were sometimes treated; and it deserves 
to be remarked, because it is not generally known, 
that the treatises of Husbandry and Agriculture, which 
were published about that time, a e so numerous, that 
it can scarcely be imagined by whom they were writ 
ten, or to whom they were sold. 

The next reign is too well known to have been a 
time of confusion, and disturbance, and disputes of 
every kind ; and the writings, which were produced, 
bear a natural proportion to the number of questions 
that were discussed at that time ; each party had its 
authors and its presses, and no endeavours were omit 
ted to gain proselytes to every opinion. I know not 
whether this may not properly be called, The Age of 
Pamphlets ; for, though they, perhaps, may not arise 
to such multitudes as Mr. Rawlinson imagined, they 
were, undoubtedly, more numerous than can be con 
ceived by any who have not had an opportunity of ex 
amining them. 


After the Restoration, the same differences, in reli 
gious opinions, are well known to have subsisted, and 
the same political struggles to have been frequently 
renewed; and, therefore, a great number of pens 
were employed, on different occasions, till, at length, 
all other disputes were absorbed in the popish contro 

From the pamphlets which these different periods 
of time produced, it is proposed, that this miscellany 
shall be compiled; for which it cannot be supposed 
that materials will be wanting; and, therefore, the 
only difficulty will be in what manner to dispose them. 

Those who have gone before us, in undertakings of 
this kind, have ranged the pamphlets, which chance 
threw into their hands, without any regard either to 
the subject on which they treated, or the time in which 
they were written ; a practice in no wise to be imi 
tated by us, who want for no materials ; of which we 
shall choose those we think best for the particular 
circumstances of times and things, and most instruct 
ing and entertaining to the reader. 

Of the different methods which present themselves, 
upon the first view of the great heaps of pamphlets 
which the Harleian library exhibits, the two which 
merit most attention are, to distribute the treatises ac 
cording to their subjects, or their dates ; but neither 
of these ways can be conveniently followed. By rang 
ing our collection in order of time, we must necessarily 
publish those pieces first, which least engage the cu 
riosity of the bulk of mankind ; and our design must 
fall to the ground, for want of encouragement, before 
it can be so far advanced as to obtain general regard : 


by confining 1 ourselves for any long 1 time to any single 
subject, we shall reduce our readers to one class ; and, 
as we shall lose all the grace of variety, shall disgust 
all those who read chiefly to be diverted. There is 
likewise one objection of equal force, against both 
these methods, that We shall preclude ourselves from 
the advantage of any future discoveries ; and we can 
not hope to assemble at once all the pamphlets which 
have been written in any age, or on any subject. 

It may be added, in vindication of our intended 
practice, that it is the same with that of Photius, 
whose collections are no less miscellaneous than ours ; 
and who declares, that he leaves it to his reader, to 
reduce his extracts under their proper heads. 

Most of the pieces which shall be offered in this 
collection to the public, will be introduced by short 
prefaces, in which will be given some account of the 
reasons for which they are inserted ; notes will be 
sometimes adjoined, for the explanation of obscure 
passages, or obsolete expressions; and care will be 
taken to mingle use and pleasure through the whole 
collection . Notwithstanding every subj ect may not be 
relished by every reader ; yet the buyer may be assured 
that each number will repay his generous subscription. 





A HE original of this celebrated performance lay 
in manuscript above a century and a half. Though 
it was read with the greatest pleasure by the learned 
of Italy, no man was hardy enough, during so long 
a period, to introduce to the world a book in which 
the successors of St. Peter were handled so roughly : 
a narrative, where artists and sovereign princes, car 
dinals and courtesans, ministers of state and mecha 
nics, are treated with equal impartiality. 

At length, in the year 1 730, an enterprising Neapo 
litan, encouraged by Dr. Antonio Cocchi, one of the po 
litest scholars in Europe, published this so-much desir 
ed work in one volume quarto. The Doctor gave the 
editor an excellent preface, which with very slight al 
teration, is judiciously preserved by the translator, Dr. 
Nugent : the book is, notwithstanding, very scarce in 
Italy : the clergy of Naples are very powerful ; and 


though the editor very prudently put Colonia instead 
of Neapoli in the title-page, the sale of Cellini was 
prohibited; the court of Rome has actually made it 
an article in their Index Expurgatorius, and pre 
vented the importation of the book into any country 
where the power of the Holy See prevails. 

The life of Benvenuto Cellini is certainly a pheno- 
ihenon in biography, whether we consider it with re 
spect to the artist himself, or the great variety of his 
torical facts which relate to others : it is indeed a very 
good supplement to the history of Europe, during the 
greatest part of the sixteenth century, more especial 
ly in what relates to painting, sculpture, and archi 
tecture, and the most eminent masters in those elegant 
arts, whose works Cellini praises or censures with pe 
culiar freedom and energy. 

As to the man himself, there is not perhaps a more 
singular character among the race of Adam : the ad 
mired Lord Herbert of Cherbury scarce equals Cel 
lini in the number of peculiar qualities which sepa 
rate him from the rest of the human species. 

He is at once a man of pleasure, and a slave to 
superstition ; a despiser of vulgar notions, and a be 
liever in magical incantations ; a fighter of duels, and 
a composer of divine sonnets; an ardent lover of 
truth, and a retailer of visionary fancies ; an admirer 
of papal power, and a hater of popes ; an offender 
against the laws, with a strong reliance on divine pro 
vidence. If I may be allowed the expression, Cellini 
is one striking feature added to the human form a 
prodigy to be wondered at, not an example to be 

O 2 


Though Cellini was so blind to his own imperfeo 
tions as to commit the most unjustifiable actions, with 
a full persuasion of the goodness of his cause and the 
rectitude of his intention, yet no man was a keener 
and more accurate observer of the blemishes of others ; 
hence his book abounds with sarcastic wit and satiri 
cal expression. Yet though his portraits are some 
times grotesque and over-charged, from misinforma 
tion, from melancholy, from infirmity, and from pe 
culiarity of humour ; in general it must be allowed 
that they are drawn from the life, and conformable to 
the idea given by cotemporary writers. His charac 
ters of pope Clement the seventh, Paul the third, and 
his bastard son Pier Luigi ; Francis the first, and his 
favourite mistress madam d'Estampes ; Cosmo duke of 
Florence, and his duchess, with many others, are 
touched by the hand of a master. 

General history cannot descend to minute details 
of the domestic life and private transactions, the 
passions and foibles of great personages; but these 
give truer representations of their characters than all 
the elegant and laboured compositions of poets and 

To some a register of the actions of a statuary may 
seem a heap of uninteresting occurrences ; but the dis 
cerning will not disdain the efforts of a powerful 
mind, because the writer is not ennobled by birth, or 
dignified by station. 

The man who raises himself by consummate merit 
in his profession to the notice of princes, who con 
verses with them in a language dictated by honest 
freedom, who scruples not to tell them those truths 


which they must despair to hear from courtiers and 
favourites, from minions and parasites, is a bold le 
veller of distinctions in the courts of powerful mo- 
narchs. Genius is the parent of truth and courage ; 
and these, united, dread no opposition. 

The Tuscan language is greatly admired for its ele 
gance, and the meanest inhabitants of Florence speak 
a dialect which the rest of Italy are proud to imitate. 
The style of Cellini, though plain and familiar, is vi* 
gorous and energetic. He possesses, to an uncommon 
degree, strength of expression, and rapidity of fancy. 
Dr. Nugent seems to have carefully studied his au 
thor, and to have translated him with ease and free 
dom, as well as truth and fidelity. 










J_T would not be found useless in the learned world, 
if in written controversies as in oral disputations, 
a moderator could be selected, who might in some de 
gree superintend the debate, restrain all needless ex 
cursions, repress all personal reflections, and at last 
recapitulate the arguments on each side; and who, 
though he should not assume the province of decid 
ing the question, might at least exhibit it in its true 

This reflection arose in my mind upon the consi 
deration of Mr. Crousaz's Commentary on the Essay 
on Man, and Mr. Warburton's Answer to it. The 
importance of the subject, the reputation and abili 
ties of the controvertists, and perhaps the ardour 


with which each has endeavoured to support his 
cause, have made an attempt of this kind necessary for 
the information of the greatest number of Mr. Pope's 

Among- the duties of a moderator, I have men 
tioned that of recalling the disputants to the sub 
ject, and cutting off the excrescences of a debate, 
which Mr. Crousaz will not suffer to be long unem 
ployed, and the repression of personal invectives, which 
have not been very carefully avoided on either part; 
and are less excusable, because it has not been proved 
that either the poet, or his commentator, wrote with 
any other design than that of promoting happiness by 
cultivating reason and piety. 

Mr. Warburton has indeed so much depressed the 
character of his adversary, that before I consider the 
controversy between them, I think it necessary to ex 
hibit some specimens of Mr. Crousaz's sentiments, by 
which it will probably be shewn, that he is far from 
deserving either indignation or contempt; that his 
notions are just, though theyare sometimes introduced 
without necessity ; and defended when they are not 
opposed ; and that his abilities and parts are such as 
may entitle him to reverence from those who think 
his criticisms superfluous. 

In page 35 of the English translation, he exhibits 
an observation which every writer ought to impress 
upon his mind, and which may afford a sufficient 
apology for his commentary. 

On the notion of a ruling passion, he offers this 
remark : " Nothing so much hinders men from 
"obtaining a complete victory over their ruling 


" passion, as that all the advantages gained in their 
" days of retreat, by just and sober reflections, whether 
" struck out by their own minds, or borrowed from 
" good books, or from the conversation of men of 
" merit, are destroyed in a few moments by a free 
" intercourse and acquaintance with libertines ; and 
" thus the work is always to be begun anew. A 
" gamester resolves to leave off play, by which he 
" finds his health impaired, his family ruined, and 
" his passions inflamed; in this resolution he persists 
a few days, but soon yields to an invitation, which 
" will give his prevailing inclination an opportunity 
" of reviving in all its force. The case is the same 
" with other men : but . is reason to be charged with 
" these calamities and follies, or rather the man who 
" refuses to listen to its voice in opposition to imper- 
" tinent solicitations?" 

On the means recommended for the attainment of 
happiness, he observes, " that the abilities which 
" our Maker has given us, and the internal and 
" external advantages with which he has invested 
" us, are of two very different kinds; those of one 
" kind are bestowed in common upon us and the 
" brute creation, but the other exalt us far above 
" other animals. To disregard any of these gifts 
" would be ingratitude; but to neglect those of 
" greater excellence, to go no farther than the gross 
" satisfactions of sense, and the functions of mere ani- 
" mal life, would be a far greater crime. We are 
" formed by our Creator capable of acquiring know- 
" ledge, and regulating our conduct by reasonable 
" rules; it is therefore our duty to cultivate our un- 


" derstandings, and exalt our virtues. We need but 
" make the experiment to find, that the greatest plea- 
44 sures will arise from such endeavours. 

" It is trifling to allege, in opposition to this truth, 
" that knowledge cannot be acquired, nor virtue pur- 
44 sued, without toil and efforts, and that all efforts 
" produce fatigue. God requires nothing dispropor- 
" tioned to the powers he has given, and in the exer- 
" cise of those powers consists the highest satis- 
" faction. 

" Toil and weariness are the effects of vanity : when 
" a man has formed a design of excelling others in 
" merit, he is disquieted by their advances, and leaves 
" nothing unattempted, that he may step before 
" them : this occasions a thousand unreasonable emo- 
4 tions, which justly bring their punishment along 
" with them. 

" But let a mfeui study and labour to cultivate and 
" improve his abilities in the eye of his Maker, 
" and with the prospect of his approbation ; let him 
" attentively reflect on the infinite value of that ap- 
" probation, and the highest encomiums that men can 
" bestow will vanish into nothing at the comparison. 
" When we live in this manner, we find that we live 
" for a great and glorious end. 

" When this is our frame of mind, we find it no 
" longer difficult to restrain ourselves in the gratifi- 
" cations of eating and drinking, the most gross en- 
44 joyments of sense. We take what is necessary to 
" preserve health and vigour, but are not to give 
" ourselves up to pleasures that weaken the attention, 
" and dull the understanding." 


And the true sense of Mr. Pope's assertion, that 

Whatever is, is right, and I believe the sense in which 

it was written, is thus explained : " A sacred and 

" adorable order is established in the government of 

" mankind. These are certain and unvaried truths : 

" he that seeks God, and makes it his happiness to 

" live in obedience to him, shall obtain what he en- 

" deavours after, in a degree far above his present 

" comprehension. He that turns his back upon his 

" Creator, neglects to obey him, and perseveres in his 

" disobedience, shall obtain no other happiness than 

" he can receive from enjoyments of his own pro- 

" curing ; void of satisfaction, weary of life, wasted by 

" empty cares and remorses equally harassing and just, 

" he will experience the certain consequences of his 

" own choice. Thus will justice and goodness resume 

" their empire, and that order be restored which men 

"have broken." 

I am afraid of wearying you or your readers with 
more quotations, but if you shall inform me that a 
continuation of my correspondence will be well re 
ceived, I shall descend to particular passages, shew 
how Mr. Pope gave sometimes occasion to mistakes, 
and how Mr. Crousaz was misled by his suspicion of 
the system of fatality. 

I am, SIR, 

Your's, &c. 




JANUARY 1, 1757. 

XT has always been lamented, that of the little time 
allotted to man, much must be spent upon superflui 
ties. Every prospect has its obstructions, which we 
must break to enlarge our view; every step of our 
progress finds impediments, which, however eager 
to go forward, we must stop to remove. Even those 
who profess to teach the way to happiness, have mul 
tiplied our incumbrances, and the author of almost 
every book retards his instructions by a preface. 

The writers of the Chronicle hope to be easily 
forgiven, though they should not be free from an 
infection that has seized the whole fraternity, and in 
stead of falling* immediately to their subjects, should 
detain the reader for a time with an account of the 
importance of their design, the extent of their plan, 
and the accuracy of the method which they intend to 
prosecute. Such premonitions, though not always ne 
cessary when the reader has the book complete in his 
hand, and may find by his own eyes whatever can be 
found in it, yet may be more easily allowed to works 



published gradually in successive parts, of which the 
scheme can only be so far known as the author shall 
think fit to discover it. 

The paper which we now invite the public to add 
to the papers with which it is already rather wearied 
than satisfied, consists of many parts ; some of which 
it has in common with other periodical sheets, and 
some peculiar to itself. 

The first demand made by the reader of a journal 
is, that he should find an accurate account of foreign 
transactions and domestic incidents. This is always 
expected, but this is very rarely performed. Of 
those writers who have taken upon themselves the 
task of intelligence, some have given and others have 
sold their abilities, whether small or great, to one or 
other of the parties that divide us; and without a 
wish for truth or thought of decency, without care of 
any other reputation than that of a stubborn adherence 
to their abettors, carry on the same tenor of represen 
tation through all the vicissitudes of right and wrong, 
neither depressed by detection, nor abashed by confu 
tation, proud of the hourly increase of infamy, and 
ready to boast of all the contumelies that falsehood and 
slander may bring upon them, as new proofs of their 
zeal and fidelity. 

With these heroes we have no ambition to be num 
bered, we leave to the confessors of faction the merit 
of their sufferings, and are desirous to shelter ourselves 
under the protection of truth. That all our facts will 
be authentic, or all our remarks just, we dare not 
venture to promise : we can relate but what we hear, 
we can point out but what we see. Of remote trans 
actions, the first accounts are always confused, and 



commonly exaggerated : and in domestic affairs, if 
the power to conceal is less, the interest to misrepre 
sent is often greater; and what is sufficiently vexatious, 
truth seems to fly from curiosity, and as many in 
quirers produce many narratives, whatever engages 
the public attention is immediately disguised by the 
embellishments of fiction. We pretend to no pecu 
liar power of disentangling contradiction or denuding 
forgery, we have no settled correspondence with the 
Antipodes, nor maintain any spies in the cabinets of 
princes. But as we shall always be conscious that 
our mistakes are involuntary, we shall watch the gra 
dual discoveries of time, and retract whatever we have 
hastily and erroneously advanced. 

In the narratives of the daily writers every reader 
perceives somewhat of neatness and purity wanting, 
which at the first view it seems easy to supply; but 
it must be considered, that those passages must be 
written in haste, and that there is often no other choice, 
but that they must want either novelty or accuracy ; 
and that as life is very uniform, the affairs of one 
week are so like those of another, that by any attempt 
after variety of expression, invention would soon be 
wearied, and language exhausted. Some improve 
ments however we hope to make ; and for the rest we 
think that when we commit only common faults, we 
shall not be excluded from common indulgence. 

The accounts of prices of corn and stocks are to 
most of our readers of more importance than narra 
tives of greater sound ; and as exactness is here within 
the reach of diligence, our readers may justly require 
it from us. 


Memorials of a private and personal kind, which 
relate deaths, marriages, and preferments, must always 
be imperfect by omission, and often erroneous by mis- 
infbYmation ; but even in these there shall not be want 
ing care to avoid mistakes, or to rectify them when 
ever they shall be found. 

That part of our work, by which it is distinguished 
from all others, is the literary journal, or account of 
the labours and productions of the learned. This 
was for a long time among the deficiencies of English 
literature ; but as the caprice of man is always starting 
from too little to too much, we have now amongst 
other disturbers of human quiet, a numerous body of 
reviewers and remarkers. H : 

Every art is improved by the emulation of com 
petitors; those who make no advances towards ex 
cellence, may stand as warnings against faults. We 
shall endeavour to avoid that petulance which treats 
with contempt whatever has hitherto been reputed 
sacred. We shall repress that elation of malignity, 
which wantons in the cruelties of criticism, and not 
only murders reputation, but murders it by torture. 
Whenever we feel ourselves ignorant we shall at least 
be modest. Our intention is not to pre-occupy judg 
ment by praise or censure, but to gratify curiosity by 
early intelligence, and to tell rather what our authors 
have attempted, than what they have performed. 
The titles of books are necessarily short, and there 
fore disclose but imperfectly the contents ; they are 
sometimes fraudulent and intended to raise false ex 
pectations. In our account this brevity will be ex 
tended, and these frauds whenever they are detected 


will be exposed; for though we write without in^ 
tention to injure, we shall not suffer ourselves to be 
made parties to deceit. 

If any author shall transmit a summary of his wdtfk, 
we shall willingly receive it -, if any literary anecdote, 
or curious observation, shall be communicated to us, 
we will carefully insert it. Many facts are known and 
forgotten, many observations are made and suppressed; 
and entertainment and instruction are frequently lost, 
for want of a repository in which they may be conve 
niently preserved. 

No man can modestly promise what he cannot as 
certain : we hope for the praise of knowledge and dis 
cernment, but we claim only that of diligence and 




NAVIGATION, like other arts, has been perfected 
by degrees. It is not easy to conceive that any age 
or nation was without some vessel, in which rivers 
might be passed by travellers, or lakes frequented by 
fishermen ; but we have no knowledge of any ship 
that could endure the violence of the ocean before the 
ark of Noah. 

As the tradition of the deluge has been transmitted 
to almost all the nations of the earth ; it must be sup 
posed that the memory of the means by which Noah 
and his family were preserved, would be continued 
long among their descendants, and that the possibility 
of passing the seas could never be doubted. 

What men know to be practicable, a thousand mo 
tives will incite them to try ; and there is reason to be 
lieve, that from the time that the generations of the 
post-diluvian race spread to the sea shores, there were 
always navigators that ventured upon the sea, though, 
perhaps, not willingly beyond the sight of land. 

Of the ancient voyages little certain is known, 
and it is not necessary to lay before the Reader such 

* A Collection of Voyages and Travels, selected from the writers 
of all nations, in four small pocket volumes, and published by New- 
bery ; to oblige whom, it is conjectured that Johnson drew up this 
curious and learned paper. 


conjectures as learned men have offered to the world. 
The Romans by conquering Carthage, put a Jstop to 
great part of the trade of distant nations with one 
another, and because they thought only on war and 
conquest, as their empire increased, commerce was 
discouraged ; till under the latter emperors, ships 
seem to have been of little other use than to transport 

Navigation could not be carried to any great de 
gree of certainty without the compass, which was un 
known to the ancients. The wonderful quality by 
which a needle or small bar of steel, touched with a 
loadstone or magnet, and turning freely by equilibra 
tion on a point, always preserves the meridian, and 
directs Jits two ends north and south, was discovered 
according to the common opinion in 1299, by John 
Gola of Amalfi, a town in Italy. 

From this time it is reasonable to suppose that na- 
yigation made continual, though slow improvements, 
which the confusion and barbarity of the times, and 
the want of communication between orders of men 
so distant as sailors and monks, hindered from being 
distinctly and successively recorded. 

It se^ms, however, jthat the sailors still wanted 
either knowledge or courage, for they continued for 
two centuries to creep along ,the coast, and consider 
ed every headland as impassable, which ran far into 
the sea, and against which the waves broke with un 
common agitation. 

The first who is known to have formed the design 
of new Discoveries, or the first who 'had power to 
.execute Jiis purposes, was Don Henry the fifth, son of 

VOL. II. * 


John, the first king of Portugal, and Philippina, sister 
of Henry the fourth of England. Don Henry hav 
ing attended his father to the conquest of Ceuta, ob 
tained, by conversation with the inhabitants of the 
continent^ some accounts of the interior kingdoms 
and southern coast of Africa ; which; though rude 
and indistinct, were sufficient to raise his curiosity, 
and convince him, that there were countries yet un 
known and worthy of discovery. 

He therefore equipped some small vessels, and 
commanded that they should pass as far as they could 
along that coast of Africa which looked upon the great 
Atlantic ocean, the immensity of which struck the 
gross and unskilful navigators of these times with ter 
ror and amazement. He was not able to communi 
cate his own ardour to his seamen, who proceeded 
very slowly in the new attempt; each was afraid to 
venture much farther than he that went before him, 
and ten years were spent before they had advanced 
beyond Cape Bajador, so called from its progression 
into the ocean, and the circuit by which it must be 
doubled. The opposition of this promontory to the 
course of the sea, produced a violent current and high 
waves, into which they durst not venture, and which 
they had not yet knowledge enough to avoid by 
standing off from the land into the open sea. 

The prince was desirous to know something of 
the countries that lay beyond this formidable cape, 
and sent two commanders, named John Gonzales 
Zarco, and Tristan Vaz, in 1418, to pass beyond 
Bajador, and survey the coast behind it. They 
caught by a tempest, which drove them out 


.into the unknown ocean, where they expected to 
perish by the violence of the wind, or perhaps to 
wander for ever in the boundless deep. At last, in 
the midst of their despair, they found a small island, 
where they sheltered themselves, and which the sense 
of their deliverance disposed them to call Puerto 
Santo, or the Holy Haven. 

When they returned with an account of this new 
island, Henry performed a public act of thanksgiv 
ing, and sent them again with seeds and cattle; and 
we are told by the Spanish historian, that they set 
two rabbits on shore, which increased so much in a 
few years, that they drove away the inhabitants, by 
destroying their corn and plants, and were suffered to 
enjoy the island without opposition. 

In the second or third voyage to Puerto Santo (for 
authors do not agree which), a third captain called 
Perello, was joined to the two former. As they looked 
round the island upon the ocean, they saw at a dis 
tance something which they took for a cloud, till they 
perceived that it did not change its place. They di 
rected their course towards it, and, in 1419, disco 
vered another island covered with trees, which they 
therefore called Madera, or the Isle of Wood. 

Maclera was given to Vaz or Zarco, who set fire 
to the woods, which are reported by Souza to have 
burnt for seven yeai's together, and to have been 
wasted, till want of wood was the greatest inconve- 
niency of the place. But green wood is not very apt 
to burn, and the heavy rains which fall in these coun 
tries must surely have extinguished the conflagration, 
were it ever so violent. 

P 2 


There was yet little progress made upon the south 
ern coast, and Henry's project was treated as chime 
rical by many of his countrymen. At last Gilianes, 
in 1433, passed the dreadful cape, to which he 
gave the name of Bajador, and came back to the 
wonder of the nation. 

In two voyages more, made in the two following 
years, they passed forty-two leagues farther, and in 
the latter, two men with horses being set on shore, 
wandered over the country, and found nineteen 
men, whom, according to the savage manners of 
that age, they attacked; the natives having jave 
lins, wounded one of the Portuguese, and received 
some wounds from them. At the mouth of a river 
they found sea- wolves in great numbers, and brought 
home many of their skins, which were much es 

Antonio Gonzales, who had been one of the associ 
ates of Gilianes, was sent again, in 1440, to bring back 
a cargo of the skins of sea-wolves. He was followed 
in another ship by Nunno Tristam. They were now 
of strength sufficient to venture upon violence, they 
therefore landed, and without either right or provo 
cation, made all whom they seized their prisoners, 
and brought them to Portugal, with great commen 
dations both from the prince and the nation. 

Henry now began to please himself with the suc 
cess of his projects, and as one of his purposes was 
the conversion of infidels, he thought it necessary to 
impart his undertaking to the pope, and to obtain 
the sanction of ecclesiastical authority. To this end 
Fernando Lopez d'Azevedo was dispatched to Rome, 


who related to the pope and cardinals the great de 
signs of Henry, and magnified his zeal for the propa 
gation of religion. The pope was pleased with the 
narrative, and by a formal bull, conferred upon the 
crown of Portugal all the countries which should be 
discovered as far as India, together with India itself, 
and granted several privileges and indulgences to the 
churches which Henry had built in his new regions, 
and to the men engaged in the navigation for discovery. 
By this bull all other princes were forbidden to en 
croach upon the conquests of the Portuguese, on pain 
of the censures incurred by the crime of usurpation. 

The approbation of the pope, the sight of men 
whose manners and appearance were so different 
from those of Europeans, and the hope of gain from 
golden regions, which has been always the great in 
centive to hazard and discovery, now began to ope 
rate with full force. The desire of riches and of do 
minion, which is yet more pleasing to the fancy, filled 
the courts of the Portuguese prince with innumerable 
adventurers from very distant parts of Europe. Some 
wanted to be employed in the search after new coun 
tries, and some to be settled in those which had been 
already found. 

Communities now began to be animated by the 
spirit of enterprise, and many associations were 
formed for the equipment of ships, and the acquisi 
tion of the riches of distant regions, which perhaps 
were always supposed to be more wealthy, as more 
remote. These undertakers agreed to pay the 
prince a fifth part of the profit, sometimes a greater 


share, and sent out the armament at their own ex- 

The city of Lagos was the first that carried on this 
design by contribution. The inhabitants fitted out 
six vessels, under the command of Lucarot, one of the 
prince's household, and soon after fourteen more were 
furnished for the same purpose, under the same com 
mander; to those were added many belonging to pri 
vate men, so that in a short time twenty-six ships put 
to sea in quest of whatever fortune should present. 

The ships of Lagos were soon separated by foul 
weather, and the rest, taking each its own course, 
stopped at different parts of the African coast, from 
Cape Blanco to Cape Verd. Some of them, in 1444, 
anchored at Gomera, one of the Canaries, where they 
were kindly treated by the inhabitants, who took 
them into their service against the people of the isle 
of Palma, with whom they were at war ; but the Por 
tuguese, at their return to Gomera, not being made 
so rich as they expected, fell upon their friends, in 
contempt of [all the laws of hospitality and stipula 
tions of alliance, and, making several of them prison 
ers and slaves, set sail for Lisbon. 

The Canaries are supposed to have been known, 
however imperfectly, to the ancients; but in the 
confusion of the subsequent ages they were lost and 
forgotten, till about the year 1340, the Biscayners 
found Lucarot, and invading it ' (for to find a new 
country and invade it has always been the same), 
brought away seventy captives, and some commo- 
'dities of the place. Louis de la Cerda, count of 


Clermont, of the blood royal both of France and 
Spain, nephew of John de la Cerda, who called him 
self the Prince of Fortune, had once a mind to settle 
in those islands, and applying 1 himself first to the 
king of Arragon, and then to Clement VI. was by the 
pope crowned at Avignon, king 1 of the Canaries, on 
condition that he shonld reduce them to the true re 
ligion; but the prince altered his mind, and went 
into France to serve against the English. The kings 
both of Castile and Portugal, though they did not op 
pose the papil grant, yet complained of it, as made 
without their knowledge, and in contravention of 
their rights. 

The first settlement in the Canaries was made by 
John de Betancour, a French gentleman, for whom 
his kinsman Robin de Braquement, admiral of France, 
begged them, with the title of King, from Henry the 
magnificent of Castile, to whom he had done eminent 
services. John made himself master of some of the 
isles, but could never conquer the grand Canary ; and 
having spent all that he had, went back to Europe, 
leaving his nephew, Massiot de Betancour, to take 
care of his new dominion. Massiot had a quarrel with 
the vicar-general, and was likewise disgusted by the 
long absence of his uncle, whom the French king de 
tained in his service, and being able to keep his 
ground no longer, he transferred his rights to Don 
Henry, in exchange for some districts in the Madera, 
where he settled his family. 

Don Henry, when he had purchased those islands, 
sent thither in 1424 two thousand five hundred foot, 
and an hundred and twenty horse; but the army 


was too numerous to be maintained by the country. 
The king- of Castile afte wards claimed them, as con 
quered by his subjects under Betancour, and held 
under the crown of Castile by fealty and homage \ 
his claim was allowed, and the Canaries were re 

It was the constant practice of Henry's navigators, 
when they stopped at a desert island, to land cattle 
upon it, and leave them to breed, where, neither 
Wanting room nor food, they multiplied very fast, 
and furnished a very commodious supply to those 
who came afterwards to the same place. This was 
imitated in some degree by Anson, at the isle of Juan 

The islands of Madera, he not only filled with in 
habitants, assisted by artificers of every kind, but pro 
cured such plants as seemed likely to flourish in that 
climate, and introduced sugar canes and vines, which 
afterwards produced a very large revenue. 

The trade of Africa now began to be profitable, 
but a great part of the gain arose from the sale of 
slaves^ who were annually brought into Portugal, by 
hundreds, as Lafitau relates, and without any appear 
ance of indignation or compassion ; they likewise im 
ported gold dust in such quantities, that Alphonsus V. 
coined it into a new species of money called Crusades, 
which is still continued in Portugal. 

In time they made their way along the south coast 
of Africa, eastward to the country of the negros, 
whom they found living in tents, without any poli 
tical institution, supporting life with very little 
labour by the milk of their kine and millet, to 


which those who inhabited the coast added fish dried 
in the sun. Having never seen the natives or heard 
of the arts of Europe, they gazed with astonishment 
on the ships when they approached their coasts, some 
times thinking 1 them birds, and sometimes fishes, ac 
cording as their sails were spread or lowered; and 
sometimes conceiving them to be only phantoms, 
which played to and fro in the ocean. Such is the 
account given by the historian, perhaps with too 
much prejudice against a negro's understanding ; 
who, though he might well wonder at the bulk and 
swiftness of the first ship, would scarcely conceive 
it to be" either a bird or a fish; but having seen many 
bodies floating in the water, would think it what it 
really is, a large boat; and if he had no knowledge 
of any means by which separate pieces of timber may 
be joined together, would form very wild notions con 
cerning its construction, or perhaps suppose it to be a 
hollow trunk of a tree, from some country where trees 
grow to a much greater height and thickness than in 
his own. 

When the Portuguese came to land, they increased 
the astonishment of the poor inhabitants, who saw men 
clad in iron, with thunder and lightning in their hands. 
They did not understand each other, and signs are a 
very imperfect mode of communication even to men 
ef more knowledge than the negros, so that they 
could not easily negociate or traffic : at last the Portu 
guese laid hands on some of them to carry them home 
for a sample ; and their dread and amazement was 
raised, says Lafitau, to the highest pitch, when the Eu 
ropeans fired their cannons and muskets among them, 


and they saw their companions fall dead at their feet, 
without any enemy at hand, or any visible cause of 
their destruction. 

On what occasion, or for what purpose, camions 
and muskets were discharged among- a people harm 
less and secure, by strangers who, without any right, 
visited their coast; it is not thought necessary to in 
form us. The Portuguese could fear nothing from 
them, and had therefore no adequate provocation; 
nor is there any reason to believe but that they mur 
dered the negros in wanton merriment, perhaps only 
to try how many a volley w r ould destroy, or what 
would be the consternation of those that should escape. 
We are openly told, thai they had the less scruple 
concerning their treatment of the savage people, be 
cause they scarcely considered them as distinct from 
beasts; and indeed the practice of all the European 
nations, and among others of the English barbarians 
that cultivate the southern islands of America, proves, 
that this opinion, however absurd and foolish, how 
ever wicked and injurious, still continues to prevail. 
Interest and pride harden the heart, and it is in vain 
to dispute against avarice and power. 

By these practices the first discoverers alienated the 
natives from them; and whenever a ship appeared, 
every one that could fly betook himself to the moun 
tains and the woods, so that nothing was to be got 
more than they could steal : they sometimes surprised 
a few fishers, and made them slaves, and did what 
they could to offend the negros, and enrich them 
selves. This practice of robbery continued till some 
of the negros, who had been enslaved, learned the 


language of Portugal, so as to be able to interpret for 
their countrymen, and one John Fernandez applied 
himself to the negro tongue. 

From this time began something like a regular 
traffic, such as can subsist between nations where all 
the power is on one side; and a factory was settled in 
the isle of Arguin, under the protection of a fort. 
The profit of this new trade was assigned for a certain 
term to Ferdinando Gomez ; which seems to be the 
common method of establishing a trade that is yet too 
small to engage the care of a nation, and can only be 
enlarged by that attention which is bestowed by pri 
vate men upon private advantage. Gomez continued 
the discoveries to Cape Catherine, two degrees and a 
half beyond the line. 

In the latter part of the reign of Alphonso V. the 
ardour of discovery was somewhat intermitted, and all 
commercial enterprises were interrupted by the wars 
in which he was engaged with various success. But 
John II. who succeeded, being fully convinced both of 
the honour and advantage of extending his dominions 
in countries hitherto unknown, prosecuted the designs 
of prince Henry with the utmost vigour, and in a short 
time added to his other titles, that of king of Guinea 
and of the coast of Africa. 

In 1463, in the third year of the reign of John II. 
died prince Henry, the first encourager of remote na 
vigation, by whose incitement, patronage and exam 
ple, distant nations have been made acquainted with 
each other, unknown countries have been brought 
into general view, and the power of Eutope has been 
extended to the remotest parts of the world. What 


mankind has lost and gained by the genius and de 
signs of this prince, it would be long to compare, and 
very difficult to estimate. Much knowledge has 
been acquired, and much cruelty been committed; 
the belief of religion has been very little propagated, 
and its laws have been outrageously and enormously 
violated. The Europeans have scarcely visited any 
coast, but to gratify avarice, and extend corruption > 
to arrogate dominion without right, and practise cru 
elty without incentive. Happy had it then been for 
the oppressed, if the designs of Henry had slept in his 
bosom, and surely more happy for the oppressors. 
But there is reason to hope that out of so much evil 
good may sometimes be produced ; and that the light 
of the gospel will at last illuminate the sands of Africa, 
and the deserts of America, though its progress cannot 
but be slow, when it is so much obstructed by the lives 
of christians. 

The death of Henry did not interrupt the progress 
of king John, who was very strict in his injunctions, 
not only to make discoveries, but to secure possessipn 
of the countries that were found. The practice of 
the first navigators was only to raise a cross upon the 
coast, and to carve upon trees the device of Don 
Henry, the name which they thought it proper to give 
to the new coast, and any other information, for those 
that might happen to follow them ; but now they 
began to erect piles of stone with a cross on the top, 
and engraved on the stone the arms of Portugal, the 
name of the king, and of the commander of the 
ship, with the day and year of the discovery. This 
was accounted sufficient to prove their claim to the 


new lands ; which might be pleaded with justice 
enough against any other Europeans, and the rights of 
the original inhabitants were never taken into notice. 
Of these stone records, nine more were erected in the 
reign of king John, along the coast of Africa, as far 
as the Cape of Good Hope. 

The fortress in the isle of Arguin was finished, and 
it was found necessary to build another at S. Georgio 
de la Mina, a few degrees north of the line, to secure 
the trade of gold dust, which was chiefly carried on 
at that place. For this purpose a fleet was fitted 
out of ten large, and three smaller vessels, freight 
ed with materials for building the fort, and with 
provisions and ammunition for six hundred men, of 
whom one hundred were workmen and labourers. 
Father Lafitau relates, in very particular terms, that 
these ships carried hewn stones, bricks, and tim 
ber, for the fort, so that nothing remained but bare 
ly to erect it. He does not seem to consider how 
small a fort could be made out of the lading of ten 

The command of this fleet was given to Don Diego 
d'Azambue, who set sail December 11, 1481, and 
reaching La Mina, January 19, 1482, gave immediate 
notice of his arrival to Caramansa, a petty prince of 
that part of the country, whom he very earnestly in 
vited to an immediate conference. 

Having received a message of civility from the 
negro chief, he landed, and chose a rising ground, 
proper for his intended fortress, on which he planted 
a banner with the arms of Portugal, and took pos 
session in the name of his master. He then raised 


an altar at the foot of a great tree, on which mass 
Was celebrated, the whole assembly, says Lantau, 
breaking out into tears of devotion, at the prospect 
of inviting these barbarous nations to the profession 
of the true faith. Being secure of the goodness of 
the end, they had no scruple about the means, nor 
ever considered how differently from the primitive 
martyrs and apostles they were attempting to make 
proselytes. The first propagators of Christianity re 
commended their doctrines by their sufferings and 
virtues ; they entered no defenceless territories with 
swords in their hands ; they built no forts upon ground 
to which they had no right, nor polluted the purity 
of religion with the avarice of trade, or insolence of 

What may still raise higher the indignation of a 
Christian mind, this purpose of propagating truth ap 
pears never to have been seriously pursued by any Eu 
ropean nation ; no means, whether lawful or unlawful, 
have been practised with diligence and perseverance 
for the conversion of savages. When a fort is built, 
and a factory established, there remains no other care 
than to grow rich. It is soon found that ignorance is 
most easily kept in subjection, and that by enlighten 
ing the mind with truth, fraud and usurpation would 
be made less practicable and less secure. 

In a few days an interview was appointed between 
Caraman sa and Azambue . The Portuguese uttered by 
his interpreter a pompous speech, in which he made 
the negro prince large offers of his master's friend 
ship, exhorting him to embrace the religion of his 
new ally ; and told him, that as they came to form 


a league of friendship with him, it was necessary that 
they should build a fort, which might serve as a re 
treat from their common enemies, and in which the 
Portuguese might be always at hand to lend him as 

The negro, who seemed very well to understand 
what the admiral intended, after a short pause, re 
turned an answer full of respect to the king of Portu 
gal, but appeared a little doubtful what to determine 
with relation to the fort. The commander saw his 
diffidence, and used all his art of persuasion to over 
come it. Caramansa, either induced by hope, or 
constrained by fear, either desirous to make them 
friends, or not daring to make them enemies, con 
sented, with a shew of joy, to that which it was 
not in his power to refuse ; and the new comers 
began the next day to break the ground for a foun 
dation of a fort. 

Within the limit of their intended fortification 
were some spots appropriated to superstitious prac 
tices ; which the negros no sooner perceived in dan 
ger of violation by the spade and pick-ax, than they 
ran to arms, and began to interrupt the work. The 
Portuguese persisted in their purpose, and there had 
soon been tumult and bloodshed, had not the admiral, 
who was at a distance to superintend the unlading the 
materials for the edifice, been informed of the danger. 
He was told at the same time, that the support of 
their superstition was only a pretence, and that all 
theirtage might be appeased by the presents which 
the prince expected, the delay of which had greatly 
affended him. 


The Portuguese admiral immediately ran to his 
men, prohibited all violence, and stopped the com 
motion ', he then brought out the presents, and spread 
them with great pomp before the prince ; if they were 
of no great value they were rare, for the negros had 
never seen such wonders before ; they were therefore 
received with ecstacy, and perhaps the Portuguese de 
rided them for their fondness of trifles, without consi 
dering how many things derive their value only from 
their scarcity ; and that gold and rubies would be tri 
fles, if nature had scattered them with less frugality. 

The work was now peaceably continued, and such 
was the diligence with which the strangers hastened 
to secure the possession of the country, that in twenty 
days they had sufficiently fortified themselves against 
the hostility of the negros. They then proceeded to 
complete their design. A church was built in the 
place where the first altar had been raised, on which 
a mass was established to be celebrated for ever, once 
a day, for the repose of the soul of Henry, the first 
mover of these discoveries. 

In this fort the admiral remained with sixty soldiers, 
and sent back the rest in the ships, with gold, slaves, 
and other commodities. It may be observed that 
slaves were never forgotten, and that wherever they 
went, they gratified their pride, if not their avarice, 
and brought some of the natives, when it happened 
that they brought nothing else. 

The Portuguese endeavoured to extend their do 
minions still farther. They had gained some know 
ledge of the Jaloffs, a nation inhabiting the coast 
of Guinea, between the Gambia and Senegal. The 


king of the Jaloffs being vicious and luxurious, com 
mitted the care of the government to Bemoin, his 
brother by the mother's side, in 'preference to two 
other brothers by his father. Bemoin, who wanted 
neither bravery nor prudence, knew that his station 
was invidious and dangerous, and therefore made an 
alliance with the Portuguese, and retained them in 
his defence by liberality and kindness. At last the 
king was killed by the contrivance of his brothers, 
and Bemoin was to lose his power, or maintain it by 

He had recourse in this exigence to his great ally 
the king of Portugal, who promised to support him, 
on condition that he should become a Christian, and 
sent an ambassador, accompanied with missionaries. 
Bemoin promised all that was required, objecting only 
that the time of a civil war was not a proper season 
for a change of religion, which would alienate his ad 
herents ; but said, that when he was once peaceably 
established, he would not only embrace the true reli 
gion himself, but would endeavour the conversion of 
the kingdom. 

This excuse was admitted, and Bemoin delayed his 
conversion for a year, renewing his promise from time 
to time. But the war was unsuccessful, trade was at a 
stand, and Bemoin was not able to pay the money 
which he had borrowed of the Portuguese merchants, 
who sent intelligence to Lisbon of his delays, and re 
ceived an order from the king, commanding them, 
under severe penalties, to return home. 

Bemoin here saw his ruin approaching, and hoping 
that money would pacify all resentment, borrowed 



of his friends a sum sufficient to discharge his debts ; 
and finding that even this enticement would not delay 
the departure of the Portuguese, he embarked his ne 
phew in their ships, with an hundred slaves, whom 
he presented to the king of Portugal, to solicit his as 
sistance. The effect of this embassy he could not 
stay to know ; for being soon after deposed, he sought 
shelter in the fortress of Argmin, whence he took ship 
ping for Portugal, with twenty-five of his principal 

The king of Portugal pleased his own vanity and 
that of his subjects, by receiving him with great state 
and magnificence, as a mighty monarch who had fled 
to an ally for succour in misfortune. All the lords 
and ladies of the- court were assembled, and Bemoin 
was conducted with a splendid attendance into the 
hall of audience, where the king rose from his throne 
to welcome him. Bemoin then made a speech with 
great ease and dignity, representing his unhappy state, 
and imploring the favour of his powerful ally. The 
king was touched with his affliction, and struck by his 

The conversion of Bemoin was much desired by 
the king ; and it was therefore immediately proposed 
to him that he should become a Christian. Ecclesias 
tics were sent to instruct him ; and having now no 
more obstacles from interest, he was easily persuaded 
to declare himself whatever would please those on 
whom he now depended. He was baptized on th$ 
third day of December, 1489, in the palace of the 
queen, with great magnificence, and named John after 
the king. 


Some time was spent in feasts and sports on this 
great occasion, and the negros signalised themselves 
by many feats of agility, far surpassing the power of 
Europeans, who having more helps of art, are less dili 
gent to cultivate the qualities of nature. In the mean 
time twenty large ships were fitted out, well manned, 
stored with ammunition, and laden with materials ne 
cessary for the erection of a fort. With this powerful 
armament were sent a great number of missionaries 
under the direction of Alvarez the king's confessor. 
The command of this force, which filled the coast of 
Africa with terror, was given to Pedro Vaz d' Acugna, 
surnamed Bisagu ; who soon after they had landed, 
not being well pleased with his expedition, put an end 
to its inconveniencies by stabbing Bemoin suddenly 
to the heart. The king heard of this outrage with 
great sorrow, but did not attempt to punish the mur 

The king's concern for the restoration of Bemoin 
was not the mere effect of kindness, he hoped by his 
help to facilitate greater designs. He now began to 
form hopes of finding a way to the East Indies, and of 
enriching his country by that gainful commerce : this 
he was encouraged to believe practicable by a map 
which the Moors had given to prince Henry, and 
which subsequent discoveries have shewn to be suf 
ficiently near to exactness, where a passage round the 
south-east part of Africa was evidently described. 

The king had another scheme yet more likely to 
engage curiosity, and not irreconcileable with his in 
terest. The world had for some time been filled 
with the report of a powerful Christian prince called 



Prester John, whose country was unknown, and whom 
some, after Paulus Venetus, supposed to reign in the 
midst of Asia, and others in the depth of Ethiopia, 
between the ocean and Red-sea. The account of 
the African Christians was confirmed by some Abys- 
sinians who had travelled into Spain, and by some 
friars that had visited the holy land ; and the king 
was extremely desirous of their correspondence and 

Some obscure intelligence had been obtained, which 
made it seem probable that a way might be found 
from the countries lately discovered, to those of this 
far-famed monarch. In 1486, an ambassador came 
from the king of Bemin, to desire that preachers 
might be sent to instruct him and his subjects in the 
true religion. He related that in the inland country, 
three hundred and fifty leagues eastward from Bemin, 
was a mighty monarch called Ogane, who had juris 
diction both spiritual and temporal over other kings ; 
that the king of Bemin and his neighbours, at their 
accession, sent ambassadors to him with rich pre 
sents, and received from him the investiture of their 
dominions, and the marks of sovereignty, which were 
a kind of sceptre, a helmet, and a latten cross, with 
out which they could not be considered as lawful 
kings; that this great prince was never seen but 
on the day of audience, and then held out one of 
his feet to the ambassador, who kissed it with 
great reverence, and who at his departure had a cross 
of latten hung on his neck, which ennobled him 
thenceforward, and exempted him from all servile 


Bemoin had likewise told the king, that to the east 
of the kingdom of Tombut, there was among other 
princes, one that was neither Mahometan nor idolater, 
but who seemed to profess a religion nearly resembling 
the Christian. These informations compared with each 
other, and with the current accounts of Prester John, 
induced the king to an opinion, which, though formed 
somewhat at hazard, is still believed to be right, that 
by passing up the river Senegal his dominions would 
be found. It was therefore ordered that when the 
fortress was finished, an attempt should be made to 
pass upward to the source of the river. The design 
failed then, and has never yet succeeded. 

Other ways likewise were tried of penetrating to 
the kingdom of Prester John, for the king resolved to 
leave neither sea nor land unsearched till he should 
be found. The two messengers who were sent first 
on this design, went to Jerusalem, and then returned, 
being persuaded that, for want of understanding the 
language of the country, it would be vain or im 
possible to travel farther. Two more were then dis 
patched, one of whom was Pedro de Covillan, the 
other Alphonso de Pavia ; they passed from Naples to 
Alexandria, and then travelled to Cairo, from whence 
they Went to Aden, a town of Arabia on the Red-sea, 
near its mouth. From Aden, Pavia set sail for Ethio 
pia, and Covillan for the Indies. Covillan visited Ca- 
navar, Calicut, and Goa in the Indies, and Sosula in 
the eastern Africa, thence he returned to Aden, and 
then to Cairo, where he had agreed to meet Pavia, 
At Cairo he was informed that Pavia was dead, but 
he met with two Portuguese Jews, one of whom had 


given the king an account of the situation and trade 
of Ormus : they brought orders to Covillan, that he 
should send one of them home with the journal of his 
travels, and go to Ormus with the other. 

Covillan obeyed the orders, sending an exact ac 
count of his adventures to Lisbon, and proceeding with 
the other messenger to Ormus ; where having made 
sufficient inquiry, he sent his companion homewards 
with the caravans that were going to Aleppo, and em 
barking once more on the Red-sea, arrived in time at 
Abyssinia, and found the prince whom he had sought 
so long, and with such danger. 

Two ships were sent out upon the same search, of 
which Bartholomew Diaz had the chief command; 
they were attended by a smaller vessel laden with 
provisions, that they might not return upon pretence 
of want either felt or feared. 

Navigation was now brought nearer to perfection. 
The Portuguese claim the honour of many inventions 
by which the sailor is assisted, and which enable him 
to leave sight of land, and commit himself to the 
boundless ocean. Diaz had orders to proceed beyond 
the river Zaire, where Diego Can had stopped, to build 
monuments of his discoveries, and to leave upon the 
coasts negro men and women well instructed, who 
might inquire after Prester John, and fill the natives 
with reverence for the Portuguese. 

Diaz, with much opposition from his crew, whose 
mutinies he repressed, partly by softness and partly 
by steadiness, sailed on till he reached the utmost 
point of Africa, which from the bad weather that he 
met there, he called Caba Tormentoso, or the Cape of 


Storms. He would have gone forward, but his crew 
forced him to return. In his way back he met the 
Victualler, from which he had been parted nine 
months before ; of the nine men which were in it at 
the separation, six had been killed by the negros, 
and of the three remaining, one died for joy at the 
sight of his friends. Diaz returned to Lisbon in De 
cember 1487, and gave an account of his voyage to 
the king, who ordered the Cape of Storms to be called 
thenceforward Cabo de Buena Esperanza, or the Cape 
of Good Hope. 

Some time before the expedition of Diaz, the river 
Zaire and the kingdom of Congo had been^discovered 
by Diego Can, who found a nation of negros who 
spoke a language which those that were in his ships 
could not understand. He landed, and the natives, 
whom he expected to fly like the other inhabitants of 
the coast, met them with confidence, and treated 
them with kindness; but Diego finding that they 
could not understand each other, seized some of their 
chiefs, and carried them to Portugal, leaving some 
of his own people in their room to learn the language 
of Congo. 

The negros were soon pacified, and the Portuguese 
left to their mercy were well treated ; and as they by 
degrees grew able to make themselves understood, re 
commended themselves, their nation, and their reli 
gion. The king of Portugal sent Diego back in a 
very short time with the negros whom he had forced 
away; and when they were set safe on shore, the 
king of Congo conceived so much esteem for Diego, 
that he sent one of those who had returned back again 


in the ship to Lisbon, with two young men dispatched 
as ambassadors, to desire instructors to be sent for the 
conversion of his kingdom. 

The ambassadors were honourably received, and 
"baptized with great pomp, and a fleet was immedi 
ately fitted out for Congo, under the command of 
Gonsalvo Sorza, who dying in his passage, was suc 
ceeded in authority by his nephew Roderigo. 

When they came to land, the king's uncle, who 
commanded the province, immediately requested to 
be solemnly initiated into the Christian religion, which 
was granted to him and his young son, on Easter day 
1491. The father was named Manuel, and the son 
Antonio. Soon afterwards the king, queen, and 
eldest prince, received at the font the names of John, 
Eleanor, and Alphonso ; and a war breaking out, the 
whole army was admitted to the rites of Christianity, 
and then sent against the enemy. They returned 
victorious, but soon forgot their faith, and formed a 
conspiracy to restore paganism ; a powerful opposi 
tion was raised by infidels and apostates, headed by 
one of the king's younger sons; and the missionaries 
had been destroyed, had not Alphonso pleaded for 
them and for Christianity. 

The enemies of religion now became the enemies of 
Alphonso, whom they accused to his father of disloy 
alty. His mother, queen Eleanor, gained time by 
one artifice after another, till the king was calmed; 
he then heard the cause again, declared his son inno 
cent, and punished his accusers with death. 

The king died soon after, and the throne was 
disputed by Alphonso, supported by the Christians, 


and Aquitimo his brother, followed by the infidels. 
A battle *was fought, Aquitimo was taken and put 
to death, and Christianity was for a time established 
in Congo; but the nation has relapsed into its former 

Such was the state of the Portuguese navigation, 
when, in 1492, Columbus made the daring and pros 
perous voyage, which gave a new world to European 
curiosity and European cruelty. He had offered his 
proposal, and declared his expectations to king John 
of Portugal, who had slighted him as a fanciful and 
rash projector, that promised what he had not reason 
able hopes to perform. Columbus had solicited other 
princes, and had been repulsed with the same indig 
nity ; at last Isabella of Arragon furnished him with 
ships, and having found America, he entered the 
mouth of the Tagus in his return, and shewed the 
natives of the new country. When he was admitted 
to the king's presence, he acted and talked with so 
much haughtiness, and reflected on the neglect which 
he had undergone with so much acrimony, that the 
courtiers who saw their prince insulted, offered to 
destroy him ; but the king, who knew that he deserved 
the reproaches that had been used, and who now sin 
cerely regretted his incredulity, would suffer no vio 
lence to be offered him, but dismissed him with pre 
sents and with honours. 

The Portuguese and Spaniards became now jealous 
of each other's claim to countries which neither had 
yet seen; and the pope, to whom they appealed, di 
vided the new world between them, by a line drawn 
from north to south, a hundred leagues westward 
from Cape Verd and the Azores, giving all that lies 


west from that line to the Spaniards, and all that lies 
east to the Portuguese. This was no satisfactory di 
vision, for the east and west must meet at last, but 
that time was then at a great distance. 

According to this grant, the Portuguese continued 
their discoveries eastward, and became masters of 
much of the coast both of Africa and the Indies; but 
they seized much more than they could occupy, ajid 
while they were under the dominion of Spain, lost 
the greater part of their Indian territories. 






J.HE importance of education is a point so ge 
nerally understood and confessed, that it would be 
of little use to attempt any new proof or illustration 
of its necessity and advantages. 

At a time when so many schemes of education have 
been projected, so many proposals offered to the Pub 
lic, so many schools opened for general knowledge, 
and so many lectures in particular sciences attended ; 
at a time when mankind seems intent rather upon fa 
miliarising than enlarging the several arts ; and every 
age, sex, and profession, is invited to an acquaintance 
with those studies, which were formerly supposed acces 
sible only to such as had devoted themselves to literary 
leisure, and dedicated their powers to philosophical 
inquiries ; it seems rather requisite that an apology 
should be made for any further attempt to smooth a 


path so frequently beaten, or to recommend attain 
ments so ardently pursued, and so officiously directed. 

That this general desire may not be frustrated, our 
schools seem yet to want some book, which may ex 
cite curiosity by its variety, encourage diligence by 
its facility, and reward application by its usefulness. 
In examining the treatises hitherto offered to the 
youth of this nation, there appeared none that did 
not fail in one or other of these essential qualities ; 
none that were not either unpleasing, or abstruse, or 
crowded with learning, very rarely applicable to the 
purposes of common life. 

Every man, who has been engaged in teaching, 
knows with how much difficulty youthful minds are 
confined to close application, and how readily they de 
viate to any thing, rather than attend to that which 
is imposed as a task. That this disposition, when it 
becomes inconsistent with the forms of education, is 
to be checked, will be readily granted ; but since, 
though it may be in some degree obviated, it cannot 
wholly be suppressed, it is surely rational to turn it to 
advantage, by taking care that the mind shall never 
want objects on which its faculties may be usefully 
employed. It is not impossible, that this restless de 
sire of novelty, which gives so much trouble to the 
teacher, may be often the struggle of the understand 
ing starting from that to which it is not by nature 
adapted, and travelling in search of something on which 
it may fix with greater satisfaction. For without sup 
posing each man particularly marked out by his genius 
for particular performances, it may be easily con 
ceived, that when a numerous class of boys is con- 


fined indiscriminately to the same forms of composi 
tion, the repetition of the same words, or the expli 
cation of the same sentiments, the employment must, 
either by nature or accident, be less suitable to some 
than others ; that the ideas to be contemplated may 
be too difficult for the apprehension of one, and too 
obvious for that of another : they may be such as 
some understandings cannot reach, though others look 
down upon them as below their regard. Every mind 
in its progress through the different stages of scho 
lastic learning, must be often in one of these condi 
tions, must either flag with the labour, or grow 
wanton with the facility of the work assigned ; and in 
either state it naturally turns aside from the track 
before it. Weariness looks out for relief, and leisure! 
for employment, and surely it is rational to indulge 
the wanderings of both. For the faculties which are 
too lightly burdened with the business of the day, may 
with great propriety add to it some other inquiry ; 
and he that finds himself over-wearied by a task, 
which perhaps, with all his efforts, he is not able to 
perform, is undoubtedly to be justified in addicting 
himself rather to easier studies, and endeavouring to 
quit that which is above his attainment, for that 
which nature has not made him incapable of pursu 
ing with advantage. 

That therefore this roving curiosity may not be un 
satisfied, it seems necessary to scatter in its way such 
allurements as may withhold it from an useless and un 
bounded dissipation ; such as may regulate it without 
violence, and direct it without restraint; such as may 
suit every inclination, and fit every capacity ; may em- 


ploy the stronger genius, by operations of reason, and 
engage the less active or forcible mind, by supplying- 
it with easy knowledge, and obviating that despond 
ence, which quickly prevails, when nothing appears 
but a succession of difficulties, and one labour only 
ceases that another may be imposed. 

A book intended thus to correspond with all dis 
positions, and afford entertainment for minds of dif 
ferent powers, is necessarily to contain treatises on dif 
ferent subjects. As it is designed for schools, though 
for the higher classes, it is confined wholly to such 
parts of knowledge as young minds may comprehend ; 
and as it is drawn up for Readers yet unexperienced 
in life, and unable to distinguish the useful from the 
ostentatious or unnecessary parts of science, it is re 
quisite that a very nice distinction should be made, 
that nothing unprofitable should be admitted for the 
sake of pleasure, nor any arts of attraction neglected, 
that might fix the attention upon more important 

These considerations produced the book which is 
here offered to the Public, as better adapted to the 
great design of pleasing by instruction, than any which 
has hitherto been admitted into our seminaries of li 
terature. There are not indeed wanting in the world 
compendiums of science, but many were written at a 
time when philosophy was imperfect, as that of G. 
Valla ; many contain only naked schemes, or synop 
tical tables, as that of Stierius ; and others are too 
large and voluminous, as that of Alstedius; and, what 
is not to be considered as the least objection, they are 
generally in a language, which, to boys, is more dif- 



ficult than the subject ; and it is too hard a task to be 
condemned to learn a new science in an unknown 
tongue. As in life, so in study, it is dangerous to do 
more things than one at a time ; and the mind is not 
to be harassed with unnecessary obstructions, in a 
way, of which the natural and unavoidable asperity 
is such as too frequently produces despair. 

If the language however had been the only objec 
tion to any of the volumes already extant, the schools 
might have been supplied at a small expence by a 
translation ; but none could be found that was not so 
defective, redundant, or erroneous, as to be of more 
danger than use. It was necessary then to examine, 
whether upon every single science there was not some, 
treatise written for the use of scholars, which might be 
adapted to this design, so that a collection might be 
made from different authors, without the necessity of 
writing new systems. This search was not wholly 
without success ; for two authors were found, whose 
performances might be admitted with little alteration. 
But so widely does this plan differ from all others, so 
much has the state of many kinds of learning been 
changed, or so unfortunately have they hitherto been 
cultivated, that none of the other subjects were ex 
plained in such a manner as was now required ; and 
therefore neither care nor expence has been spared to 
obtain new lights, and procure to this book the merit 
of an original. 

With what judgment the design has been formed, 
and with what skill it has been executed, the learned 
world is now to determine. But before sentence 
shall pass, it is proper to explain more fully what 


has been intended, that censure may not be incurred 
by the omission of that which the original plan did not 
comprehend ; to declare more particularly who they 
are to whose instructions these treatises pretend, that a 
charge of arrogance and presumption may be obviated ; 
to lay down the reasons which directed the choice of 
the several subjects ; and to explain more minutely 
the manner in which each particular part of these vo 
lumes is to be used. 

The title has already declared, that these volumes 
are particularly intended for the use of schools, and 
therefore it has been the care of the authors to ex 
plain the several sciences, of which they have treated, 
in the most familiar manner ; for the mind used only 
to common expressions, and inaccurate ideas, does not 
suddenly conform itself to scholastic modes of rea 
soning, or conceive the nice distinctions of a subtile 
philosophy, and may be properly initiated in specu 
lative Studies by an introduction like this, in which the 
grossness of vulgar conception is avoided, without the 
observation of metaphysical exactness. It is observed, 
that in the course of the natural world no change is 
instantaneous, but all its vicissitudes are gradual and 
slow ; the motions of intellect proceed in the like 
imperceptible progression, and proper degrees of 
transition from one study to another are therefore ne 
cessary ; but let it not be charged upon the writers 
of this book, that they intended to exhibit more 
than the dawn of knowledge, or pretended to raise 
in the mind any nobler product than the blossoms of 
science, which more powerful institutions may ripen 
into fruit. 


For this reason it must not be expected, that in the, 
following pages should be found a complete circle of 
the sciences ; or that any authors, now deservedly es 
teemed, should be rejected to make way for what is 
here offered. It was intended by the means of these 
precepts, not to deck the mind with ornaments, but to 
protect it from nakedness ; not to enrich it with afflu 
ence, but to supply it with necessaries. The inquiry 
therefore was not what degrees of knowledge are de 
sirable, but what are in most stations of life indispen 
sably required ; and the choice was determined not 
by the splendor of any part of literature, but by the 
extent of its use, and the inconvenience which its 
neglect was likely to produce. 

I. The prevalence of this consideration appears in 
the first part, which isr appropriated to the humble 
purposes of teaching to read, and speak, and write let 
ters ; an attempt of little magnificence, but in which 
no man needs to blush for having employed his time, 
if honour be estimated by use. For precepts of this 
kind, however neglected, extend their importance 
as far as men are found who communicate their 
thoughts one to another ; they are equally useful to 
the highest and the lowest ; they may often contribute 
to make ignorance less inelegant; and may it not be 
observed, that they are frequently wanted for the em 
bellishment even of learning ? 

In order to shew the proper use of this part, which 
consists of various exemplifications of such differences 
of style as require correspondent diversities of pro 
nunciation, it will be proper to inform the scholar, 
that there are in general three forms of style, each of 



which demands its' particular mode of elocution: the 
familiar, the solemn, and the pathetic. That in the 
familiar, he that reads is only to talk with a paper 
in his hand, and to indulge himself in all the lighter 
liberties of voice, as when he reads the common ar 
ticles of a newspaper, or a cursory letter of in 
telligence or business. That the solemn style, such 
as that of a serious narrative, exacts an uniform stea 
diness of speech, equal, clear, and calm. That for 
the pathetic, such as an animated oration, it is neces 
sary the voice be regulated by the sense, varying 
and rising with the passions. These rules, which are 
the most general, admit a great number of subordi 
nate observations, which must be particularly adapted 
to every scholar; for it is observable, that though 
very few read well, yet every man errs in a different 
way. But let one remark never be omitted: in 
culcate strongly to every scholar the danger of copy 
ing the voice of another ; an attempt which, though 
it has been often repeated, is always unsuccess 

The importance of writing letters with propriety 
justly claims to be considered with care, since, next 
to the power of pleasing with his presence, every 
man would wish to be able to give delight at a dis r 
tance. This great art should be diligently taught, 
the rather, because of those letters which are most 
useful, and by which the general business of life is 
transacted, there are no examples easily to be found. 
It seems the general fault of those who undertake 
this part of education, that they propose for the 
exercise of their scholars, occasions which rarely hap- 


pen; such as congratulations and condolences, and 
neglect those without which life cannot proceed. It 
is possible to pass many years without the necessity 
of writing panegyrics or epithalamiums ; but every 
man has frequent occasion to state a contract, or 
demand a debt, or make a narrative of some minute 
incidents of common life. On these subjects, there 
fore, young persons should be taught to think justly 
and write clearly, neatly and succinctly, lest they 
come from school into the world without any ac- 
quaiatance with common affairs, and stand idle spec 
tators of mankind, in expectation that some great 
event will give them an opportunity to exert their 

II. The second place is assigned to geometry; on 
the usefulness of which it is unnecessary to expatiate 
in an age when mathematical studies have so much 
engaged the attention of all classes of men. This 
treatise is one of those which have been borrowed, 
being a translation from the work of Mr. Le Clerc ; 
and is not intended as more than the first initiation. 
In delivering the fundamental principles of geometry, 
it is necessary to proceed by slow steps, that each pro 
position may be fully understood before another is 
attempted. For which purpose it is not sufficient, 
that when a question is asked in the words of the 
book, the scholar likewise can in the words of the 
book return the proper answer ; for this may be only 
ai* act of memory, not of understanding- : it is always 
property vary the words of the question, to place the 
proposition in different points of view, and to require 
of the learner an explanation in his own terms, in- 

R 2 


forming him however when they are improper. By 
this method the scholar will become cautious and at 
tentive, and the master will know with certainty the 
degree of his proficiency. Yet, though this rule is 
generally right, I cannot but recommend a precept 
of Pardie's, that when the student cannot be made to 
comprehend some particular part, it should be, for 
that time, laid aside, till new light shall arise from 
subsequent observation. 

When this compendium is completely understood, 
the scholar may proceed to the perusal of Tacquet, 
afterwards of Euclid himself, and then of the modern 
improvers of geometry, such as Barrow, Keil, and Sir 
Isaac Newton. 

III. The necessity of some acquaintance with 
geography and astronomy will not be disputed. If 
the pupil is born to lEe ease of a large fortune, no 
part of learning is more necessary to him than the 
knowledge of the situation of nations, on which 
their interests generally depend; if he is dedicated 
to any of the learned professions, it is scarcely pos 
sible that he will not be obliged to apply himself in 
some part of his life to these studies, as no other 
branch of literature can be fully comprehended with 
out them; if he is designed for the arts of com 
merce or agriculture, some general acquaintance with 
these sciences will be found extremely useful to him; 
in a word, no studies afford more extensive, more 
wonderful, or more pleasing scenes; and therefore 
there can be no ideas impressed upon the soul, 
which can more conduce to its future entertain 


In the pursuit of these sciences, it will be proper 
to proceed with the same gradation and caution as in 
geometry. And it is always of use to decorate the 
nakedness of science, by interspersing such observa 
tions and narratives as may amuse the mind, and ex 
cite curiosity. Thus, in explaining the state of the 
polar regions, it might be fit to read the narrative of 
the Englishmen that wintered in Greenland, which 
will make young minds sufficiently curious after the 
cause of such a length of night, and in tenseness of 
cold; and many stratagems of the same kind might 
be practised to interest them in all parts of their stu 
dies, and call in their passions to animate their in 
quiries. When they have read this treatise, it will 
be proper to recommend to them Varenius's Geo 
graphy, and Gregory's Astronomy. 

IV. The study of chronology and history seems to 
be one of the most natural delights of the human 
mind. It is not easy to live without inquiring by 
what means every thing was brought hjto the state jn 
which we now behold it, or without finding in the 
mind some desire of being informed concerning the 
generations of mankind that have been in possession 
of the world before us, whether they were better or 
worse than ourselves ; or what good or evil has been 
derived to us from their schemes, practices, and in 
stitutions. These are inquiries which history alone 
can satisfy ; and history can only be made intelligible 
by some knowledge of chronology, the science by 
which events are ranged in their order, and the pe 
riods of computation are settled ; and which therefore 


assists the memory by method, and enlightens the judg 
ment by shewing the dependence of one transaction on 
another. Accordingly it should be diligently incul 
cated to the scholar, that unless he fixes in his mind some 
idea of the time in which each man of eminence 
lived, and each action was performed, with some part 
of the contemporary history of the rest of the world, 
he will consume his life in useless reading, and 
darken his mind with a crowd of unconnected events; 
his memory will be perplexed with distant transac 
tions resembling one another, and his reflections be 
like a dream in a fever, busy and turbulent, but con 
fused and indistinct. 

The technical part of chronology, or the art of 
computing and adjusting time, as it is very diffi 
cult, so it is not of absolute necessity, but should 
however be taught, so far as it can be learned with 
out the loss of those hours which are required for 
attainments of nearer concern. The student may join 
with this treatise Le Clerc's Compendium of History; 
and afterwards may, for the historical part of chrono 
logy, procure Helvicus's and Isaacson's Tables; and, 
if he is desirous of attaining the technical part, may 
first peruse Holder's Account of Time, Hearne's Duc- 
tor Historicus, Strauchius, the first part of Petavius's 
> Rationarium Temporum; and at length Scaliger de 
Emerjdatione Temporum. And for instruction in 
the method of his historical studies, he may consult 
Hearne's Ductor Historicus, Wheare's Lectures, Raw- 
linson's Directions for the Study of History ; and for 
ecclesiastical history, Cave and Dupin, Baronius and 


V. Rhetoric and poetry supply life with its highest V~ 
intellectual pleasures ; and in the hands of virtue are 
of great use for the impression of just sentiments, and 
recommendation of illustrious examples. In the 
practice of these great arts, so much more is the effect 
of nature than the effect of education, that nothing is 
attempted here but to teach the mind some general 
heads of observation, to which the beautiful passages 
of the best writers may commonly be reduced. In 
the use of this it is not proper that the teacher should 
confine himself to the examples before him ; for by 
that method he will never enable his pupils to make 
just application of the rules; but, having inculcated 
the true meaning of each figure, he should require 
them to exemplify it by their own observations, 
pointing to them the poem, or, in longer works, the 
book or canto in which an example may be found, 
and leaving them to discover the particular passage 
by the light of the rules which they have lately 

For a farther progress in these studies, they may 
consult Quintilian and Vossius's Rhetoric; the art of 
poetry will be best learned from Bpssu and Bohours in 
French, together with Dryden*s Essays and Prefaces, 
the critical Papers of Addison, Spence on Popajs : 
Odyssey, and Trapp's Prselectiones Poeticse ; but a 
more accurate and philosophical account is expected 
fr6m a commentary upon Aristotle's Art of Poetry, - 
with which the literature of this nation will be in a 
short time augmented. 

VI. With regard to the practice of dtaw^, it 
isf not necessary to give any directions, the use of 


the treatise being- only to teach the proper method 
of imitating the figures which are annexed. It will 
be proper to incite the scholars to industry, by shew 
ing in other books the use of the art, and informing 
them how much it assists the apprehension, and re 
lieves the memory ; and if they are obliged sometimes 
to write descriptions of engines, utensils or any com 
plex pieces of workmanship, they will more fully ap 
prehend the necessity of an expedient which so happily 
supplies the defects of language, and enables the eye to 
conceive what cannot be conveyed to the mind any 
other way. When they have read this treatise, and prac 
tised upon these figures, their theory may be improv 
ed by the Jesuit's Perspective, and their manual ope 
rations by other figures which may be easily procured. 
VII. Iggic, or the art of arranging and connect 
ing ideas, of forming and examining arguments, is 
universally allowed to be an attainment in the ut 
most degree worthy the ambition of that being 
whose highest honour is to be endued with reason ; 
but it is doubted whether that ambition has yet 
been gratified, and whether the powers of ratioci- 
.nation have been much improved by any systems of 
art, or methodical institutions. The logic which 
for so many ages kept possession of the schools, has 
at last been condemned as a mere art of wrang 
ling, of very little use in the pursuit of truth ; and 
later writers have contented themselves with giving 
an account of the operations of the mind, marking 
the various stages of her progress, and giving some 
general rules for the regulation F of her conduct. 
The method of these writers is here followed ; 


but without a servile adherence to any, and with en 
deavours to make improvements upon all. This 
work, however laborious, has yet been fruitless, if 
there be truth in an observation very frequently made, 
that logicians out of the school do not reason better 
than men unassisted by those lights which their science 
is supposed to bestow. It is not to be doubted but 
that logicians may be sometimes overborne by their ^ 
passions, or blinded by their prejudices ; and that a 
man may reason ill, as he may act ill, not because he 
does not know what is right, but because he does not 
regard it; yet it is no more the fault of his art that it 
does not direct him when his attention is withdrawn 
from it, than it is the defect of his sight that he misses | 
his way when he shuts his eyes, f Against this cause 
of error there is no provision to be made, otherwise 
than by inculcating the value of truth, and the ne 
cessity of conquering the passions. But logic may 
likewise fail to produce its effects upon common occa 
sions, for want of being frequently and familiarly 
applied, till its precepts may direct the mind im 
perceptibly, as the fingers of a musician are regulated 
by his knowledge of the tune. This readiness of re 
collection is only to be procured by frequent impres 
sion ; and therefore it will be proper, when logic has 
been once learned, the teacher take frequent occa 
sion, in the most easy and familiar conversation, to 
observe when its rules are preserved, and when they 
are broken ; and that afterwards he read no authors, 
without exacting of his pupil an account of every re 
markable exemplification or breach of the laws of 


When this system has been digested, if it be thought 
necessary to proceed farther in the study of method, 
it will be proper to recommend Crousaz, Watts, Le 
Clerc, Wolfius, and Locke's Essay on Human Under 
standing ; and if there be imagined any necessity of 
adding the peripatetic logic, which has been perhaps 
condemned without a caiidid trial, it will be con 
venient to proceed to Sanderson, Wallis, Crackafi- 
thorp, and Aristotle. 

VIII. To excite a curiosity after the works of 
God, is the chief design of the small specimen of na 
tural history inserted in this collection ; which, how 
ever, may be sufficient to put the mind in motion, and 
in some measure to direct its steps ; but its effects may 
easily be improved by a philosophic master, who will 
every day find a thousand opportunities of turning the 
attention of his scholars to the contemplation of the 
objects that surround them, of laying open the wonder 
ful art with which every part of the universe is form 
ed, and the providence which governs the vegetable 
and animal creation. He may lay before them the 
Religious Philosopher, Ray, Derham's Physico-The- 
ology, together with the Spectacle de la Nature ; and 
in time recommend to their perusal Rondoletius and 

IX. But how much soever the reason may be 
strengthened by logic, or the conceptions of the mind 
enlarged by the study of nature, it is necessary the 
man be not suffered to dwell upon them so long as to 
neglect the study of himself, the knowledge of his 
own station in the ranks of being, and his various 
relations to the innumerable multitudes which surround 


him, and with which his Maker has ordained him to 
be united for the reception and communication of hap 
piness. To consider these aright is of the greatest im 
portance, since from these arise duties which he can 
not neglect. Ethics, or morality, therefore, is one of 
the studies which ought to begin with the first glimpse 
of reason, and only end with life itself. Other acqui 
sitions are merely temporary benefits, except as they 
contribute to illustrate the knowledge, and confirm 
the practice of morality and piety, which extend their 
influence beyond the grave, and increase our happiness 
through endless duration. 

This great science, therefore, must be inculcated 
with care and assiduity, such as its importance ought 
to incite in reasonable minds ; and for the prosecution 
of this design, fit opportunities are always at hand. 
As the importance of logic is to be shewn by de 
tecting false arguments ; the excellence of morality is 
to be displayed by proving the deformity, the reproach, 
and the misery of all deviations from it. Yet it is to 
be remembered, that the laws of mere morality are 
no coercive power ; and, however they may by con 
viction of their fitness please the reasoner in the shade, 
when the passions stagnate without impulse, and the 
appetites are secluded from their objects, they will be 
of littfe force against the ardour of desire, or the ve 
hemence of rage, amidst the pleasures and 1 tumtrrts 
of the world. To counteract the power of tempta 
tions, hope must be excited by the prospect of rewards, 
and fear by the expectation of punishment; and virtue 
inay owe her panegyrics to morality, but must de 
rive her authority from religion. 


When therefore the obligations of morality are 
taught, let the sanctions of Christianity never be 
forgotten ; by which it will be shewn, that they give 
strength and lustre to each other; religion will appear 
to be the voice of reason, and morality the will of 
GOD. Under this article must be recommended Tully 's 
Offices, Grotius, PufFendorf, Cumberland's Laws of 
Nature, and the excellent Mr. Addisoju; Moral and 
Religious Essays. 

X. Thus far the work is composed for the use of 
scholars, merely as they are men . But it was thought 
necessary to introduce something that might be parti 
cularly adapted to that country for which it is de 
signed ; and therefore a discourse has been added upon 
trade and commerce, of which it becomes every man of 
this nation to understand at least the general principles, 
as it is impossible that any should be high or low 
enough not to be in some degree affected by their de 
clension or prosperity. It is therefore necessary that 
it should be universally known among us, what 
changes of property are advantageous, or when the 
balance of trade is on our side ; what are the products 
or manufactures of other countries \ and how far one 
nation may in any species of traffic obtain or preserve 
superiority over another. The theory of trade is yet 
but little understood, and therefore the practice is 
often without real advantage to the public ; but it 
might be carried on with more general success, if its 
principles were better considered \ and to excite that 
attention is our chief design. To the perusal of this 
book may succeed that of Mun upon Foreign Trade, 
Sir Josiah Child, Locke upon Coin, Davenant's treatises, 


the British Merchant, Dictionnaire de Commerce, and, 
for an abstract or compendium, Gee, and an improve 
ment that may hereafter be made upon his plan. 

XI. The principles of laws and government come 
next to be considered ; by which men are taught to 
whom obedience is due, for what it is paid, and in 
what degree it may be justly required. This know 
ledge, by peculiar necessity, constitutes a part of the 
education of an Englishman, who professes to obey his 
prince according to the law, and who is himself a se 
condary legislator, as he gives his consent, by his re 
presentative, to all the laws by which he is bound, and 
has a right to petition the great council of the nation, 
whenever he thinks they are deliberating upon an act 
detrimental to the interest of the community. This 
is therefore a subject to which the thoughts of a young 
man ought to be directed; and that he may obtain 
such knowledge as may qualify him to act and judge 
as one of a free people, let him be directed to add to 
this introduction Fortescue's Treatises, N. Bacon's 
Historical Discourse on the Laws and Government of 
England, Temple's Introduction, Locke on Govern 
ment, Zouch's Elementa Juris Civilis, Plato Redivi- 
vus, Gurdon's History of Parliaments, and Hooker's 
Ecclesiastical Polity. 

XII. Having thus supplied the young student with 
knowledge, it remains now that he learns its applica 
tion ; and that thus qualified to act his part, he be at 
last taught to choose it. For this purpose a section 
is added upon human life and manners ; in which he 
is cautioned against the danger of indulging his 
passions, of vitiating his habits, and depraving his sen- 


timents. He is instructed in these points by three 
fables, two of which were of the highest authority in 
the ancient Pagan world. But at this he is not to 
rest ; for if he expects to be wise and happy, he must 
diligently study the SCRIPTURES of GOD. 

Such is the book now proposed, as the first initia 
tion into the knowledge of things, which has been 
thought by many to be too long delayed in the pre 
sent forms of education. Whether the complaints be 
not often ill-grounded, may perhaps be disputed ; but 
it is at least reasonable to believe, that greater pro 
ficiency might sometimes be made ; that real know 
ledge might be more early communicated ; and that 
children might be allowed, without injury to health, 
to spend many of those hours upon useful employ 
ments, which are generally lost in idleness and play ; 
therefore the public will surely encourage an ex 
periment, by which, if it fails, nobody is hurt ; and if 
it succeeds, all the future ages of the world may find 
advantage ; which may eradicate or prevent vice, by 
turning to a better use those moments in which it is 
learned r indulged ; and in some sense lengthen life, 
by teaching posterity to enjoy those years- which have 
hitherto been lost. The success, and even the trial of 
this experiment, will depend upon those to whom 
tike care of our youth is committed ; and a due sense 
of the importance of their trust will easily prevail 
upon them to encourage a work which pursues the 
design of improving education. If any part of the 
following performance shall upon trial be found ca 
pable of amendment; if any thing can be added or 
altered, so as to render the attainment of knowledge 


more easy j the Editor will be extremely obliged to 
any gentleman, particularly those who are engaged in 
the business of teaching, for such hints or observations 
as may tend towards the improvement, and will spare 
neither expence nor trouble in making the best use of 
their information. 




JN O expectation is more fallacious than that 
which authors form of the reception which their 
labours will find among mankind. Scarcely any 
man publishes a book, whatever it be, without be 
lieving that he has caught the moment when the 
public attention is vacant to his call, and the world 
is disposed in a particular manner to learn the art 
which ne undertakes to teach. 

The writers of this volume are not so far exempt 
from epidemical prejudices, but that they likewise 
please themselves with imagining, that they have re 
served their labours to a propitious conjuncture, and 
that this is the proper time for the publication of a 
Dictionary of Commerce. 

The predictions of an author are very far from 
infallibility; but in justification of some degree of 
confidence it may be properly observed, that there 
was never from the earliest ages a time in which 
trade so much engaged the attention of mankind, 
or commercial gain was sought with such general 
emulation. Nations which have hitherto cultivated 
no art but that of war, nor conceived any means of 
increasing riches but by plunder, are awakened to 

* A new Dictionary of Trade and Commerce, compiled from 
the Information of the most eminent Merchants, and from the 
Works of the best Writers on commercial Subjects in all Lan 
guages, by Mr. Rolt, Folio, 1757. 


more inoffensive industry. Those whom the posses 
sion of subterraneous treasures have long 1 disposed to 
accommodate themselves by foreign industry, are at last 
convinced that idleness never will be rich. The mer 
chant is now invited to every port, manufactures are 
established in all cities, and princes who just can view 
the sea from some single corner of their dominions, are 
enlarging harbours, erecting mercantile companies, 
and preparing to traffic in the remotest countries. 

Nor is the form of this work less popular than the 
subject, tt has lately been the practice of the learned 
to range knowledge by the alphabet, and publish dic 
tionaries of every kind of literature. This practice 
has perhaps been carried too far by the force of 
fashion. Sciences, in themselves systematical and 
coherent, are not very properly broken into such for 
tuitous distributions. A dictionary of arithmetic or 
geometry can serve only to confound : but commerce, 
considered in its whole extent, seems to refuse any 
other method of arrangement, as it comprises innume 
rable particulars unconnected with each other, among 
which there is no reason why any should be first or 
last, better than is furnished by the letters that com 
pose their names. 

We cannot indeed boast ourselves the inventors of 
a scheme so commodious aud comprehensive. The 
French, among innumerable projects for the promo 
tion of traffic, have taken care to supply their mer 
chants with a Dictionnaire de Commerce, collected with 
great industry and exactness, but too large for com 
mon use, and adapted to their own trade. This book, 
as well as others, has been carefully consulted, that 

VOL. II. 8 


our merchants may not be ignorant of any thing 
known by their enemies or rivals. 

Such indeed is the extent of our undertaking, that 
it was necessary to solicit every information, to consult 
the living and the dead. The great qualification of 
him that attempts a work thus general is diligence of 
inquiry. No man has opportunity or ability to ac 
quaint himself with all the subjects of a commercial 
dictionary, so as to describe from his own knowledge, 
or assert on his own experience. He must therefore 
often depend upon the veracity of others, as every man 
depends in common life, and have no other skill to 
boast than that of selecting judiciously, and arranging 

But to him who considers the extent of our subject, 
limited only by the bounds of nature and of art, the 
task of selection and method will appear sufficient to 
overburden industry and distract attention. Many 
branches of commerce are sub- divided into smaller 
and smaller parts, till at last they become so minute as 
not easily to be noted by observation. Many interests 
are so woven among each other as not to be disentang 
led without long inquiry ; many arts are industriously 
kept secret, and many practices necessary to be known, 
are carried on in parts too remote for intelligence. 

But the knowledge of trade is of so much import 
ance to a maritime nation, that no labour can be 
thought great by which information may be obtained ; 
and therefore we hope the reader will not have reason 
to complain, that, of what he might justly expect to 
find, any thing is omitted. 

To give a detail or analysis of our work is very 



difficult ; a volume intended to contain whatever is 
requisite to be known by every trader, necessarily be 
comes so miscellaneous and unconnected as not to be 
easily reducible to heads; yet, since we pretend in 
some measure to treat of traffic as a science, and to 
make that regular and systematical which has hitherto 
been to a great degree fortuitous and conjectural, and 
has often succeeded by chance rather than by conduct, 
it will be proper to shew that a distribution of parts 
has been attempted, which, though rude and inade 
quate, will at least preserve some order, and enable the 
mind to take a methodical and successive view of this 

In the dictionary which we here offer to the pub 
lic, we propose to exhibit the materials, the places, 
and the means of traffic. 

The materials or subjects of traffic are whatever is 
bought and sold, and include therefore every manu 
facture of art, and almost every production of nature. 

In giving an account of the commodities of nature, 
whether those which are to be used in their original 
state, as drugs and spices, or those which become useful 
when they receive a new form from human art, as 
flax, cotton, aud metals, we shall shew the places of 
their production, the manner in which they grow, the 
art of cultivating or collecting them, their discrimina 
tions and varieties, by which the best sorts are known, 
from the worse, and genuine from fictitious, the arts 
by which they are counterfeited, the casualties by 
which they are impaired, and the practices by which 
the damagels palliated or concealed. We shall like 
wise shew their virtues and uses, and trace then) 
through all the changes which they undergo. 



The history of manufactures is likewise delivered* 
Of every artificial commodity the manner in which 
it is made is in some measure described, though it must 
be remembered, that manual operations are scarce to 
be conveyed by any words to him that has not seen 
them. Some general notions may however be af 
forded ; it is easy to comprehend, that plates of iron 
are formed by the pressure of rollers, and bars by the 
strokes of a hammer ; that a cannon is cast, and that 
an anvil is forged. But as it is to most traders of 
more use to know when their goods are well wrought, 
than by what means, care has been taken to name the 
places where every manufacture has been carried fur 
thest, and the marks by which its excellency may be 

By the places of trade are understood all ports, ci 
ties, or towns, where staples are established, manufac 
tures are wrought, or any commodities are bought and 
sold advantageously. This part of our work includes 
an enumeration of almost all the remarkable places in 
the world, with such an account of their situation, cus*- 
toms, and products, as the merchant would require, 
who being to begin a new trade in any foreign country, 
was yet ignorant of the commodities of the place, and 
the manners of the inhabitants. 

But the chief attention of the merchant, and con T 
sequently of the author who writes for merchants, 
ought to be employed upon the means of trade, which 
include all the knowledge and practice necessary to 
the skilful and successful conduct of commerce. 

The first of the means of trade is proper education, 
which may confer a competent skill in numbers ; to 
be afterwards completed in the counting-house, by ob- 


nervation of the manner of stating accounts, and regu 
lating books, which is one of the few arts which hav 
ing been studied in proportion to its importance, is 
carried as far as use can require. The counting- 
house of an accomplished merchant is a school of 
method where the great science may be learned of 
ranging particulars under generals, of bringing the 
different parts of a transaction together, and of shewing 
at one view a long series of dealing and exchange. 
Let no man venture into large business while he is ig 
norant of the method of regulating books ; never let 
him imagine that any degree of natural abilities will 
enable him to supply this deficiency, or preserve mul 
tiplicity of affairs from inextricable confusion. 

This is the study, without which all other studies 
will be of little avail ; but this alone is not sufficient. 
It will be necessary to learn many other things, which 
however may be easily included in the preparatory 
institutions, such as an exact knowledge of the weights 
and measures of different countries, and some skill in 
geography and navigation, with which this book may 
perhaps sufficiently supply him. 

In navigation, considered as part of the skill of a 
merchant, is included not so much the art of steering 
a ship, as the knowledge of the sea-coast, and of the 
different parts to which his cargos are sent, the cus 
toms to be paid ; the passes, permissions, or certifi 
cates to be procured ; the hazards of every voyage, 
and the true rate of insurances. To this must be ad 
ded, an acquaintance with the policies and arts of 
other nations, as well those to whom the commodities 
are sold, as of those who carry goods of the same kind 


to the same market ; and who are therefore to be 
watched as rivals endeavouring to take advantage of 
every error, miscarriage, or debate. 

The chief of the means of trade is money, of which 
our late refinements in traffic have made the know 
ledge extremely difficult. The merchant must not 
only inform himself of the various denominations and 
value of foreign coins, together with their method of 
counting and reducing ; such as the railleries of Por 
tugal, and the livres of France ; but he must learn 
what is of more difficult attainment ; the discount of 
exchanges, the nature of current paper, the principles 
upon which the several banks of Europe are esta 
blished, the real value of funds, the true credit of 
trading companies, with all the sources of profit, and 
possibilities of loss. 

All this he must learn merely as a private dealer, 
attentive only to his own advantage; but as every 
man ought to consider himself as part of the commu 
nity to which he belongs, and while he prosecutes his 
own interest to promote likewise that of his country, it 
is necessary for the trader to look abroad upon man 
kind, and study many questions which are perhaps 
more properly political than mercantile. 

He ought therefore to consider very accurately the 
balance of trade, or the proportion between things ex 
ported and imported ; to examine what kinds of com 
merce are unlawful, either as being expressly prohi 
bited, because detrimental to the manufactures or other 
interest of his country, as the exportation of silver to 
the East-Indies, and the introduction of French com 
modities ; or unlawful in itself, as the traffic for ne- 


gros. He ought to be able to state with accuracy, 
the benefits and mischiefs of monopolies, and exclusive 
companies; to inquire into the arts which have been 
practised by them to make themselves necessary, or by 
their opponents to make them odious. He should 
inform himself what trades are declining-, and what 
are improveable ; when the advantage is on our side, 
and when on that of our rivals. 

The state of our colonies is always to be diligently 
surveyed, that no advantage may be lost which they 
can afford, and that every opportunity may be im 
proved of increasing their wealth and power, or of 
making them useful to their mother-country. 

There is no knowledge of more frequent use than 
that of duties and impost, whether customs paid at the 
ports, or excises levied upon the manufacturer. Much 
of the prosperity of a trading nation depends upon 
duties properly apportioned ; so that what is necessary 
may continue cheap, and what is of use only to luxury 
may in some measure atone to the public for the mis 
chief done to individuals. Duties may often be so 
regulated as to become useful even to those that pay 
them ; and they may be likewise so unequally imposed 
as to discourage honesty and depress industry, and give 
temptation to fraud and unlawful practices. 

To teach all this is the design of the Commercial 
Dictionary ; which, though immediately and primarily 
written for the merchants, will be of use to every man 
of business or curiosity. There is no man who is not 
in some degree a merchant, who has not something 
to buy and something to sell, and who does not there 
fore want such instructions as may teach him the true 
value of possessions or commodities. 


The descriptions of the productions of the earth and 
water, which this volume will contain, may be equally 
pleasing and useful to the speculatist with any other 
natural history ; and the accounts of various manu 
factures will constitute no contemptible body of ex 
perimental philosophy. The descriptions of ports and 
cities may instruct the geographer as well as if they 
were found in books appropriated only to his own sci 
ence ; and the doctrines of funds, insurances, currency, 
monopolies, exchanges, and duties, is so necessary to 
the politician, that without it he can be of no use 
either in the council or the senate, nor can speak or 
think justly either on war or trade. 

We therefore hope that we shall not repent the la 
bour of compiling this work ; nor flatter ourselves un 
reasonably, in predicting a favourable reception to a 
book which no condition of life can render useless, 
which may contribute to the advantage of all that 
make or receive laws, of all that buy or sell, of all that 
wish to keep or improve their possessions, of all that 
desire to be rich, and all that desire to be wise. 





JL HE following relation is so curious and entertain- 
ing, and the dissertations that accompany it sc judi 
cious and instructive, that tl;e translator is confident 
his attempt stands in need of no apology, whatever 
censures may fall on the performance. 

The Portuguese traveller, contrary to the general 
vein of his countrymen, has amused his reader with 
no romantic absurdities or incredible fictions : what 
ever he relates, whether true or not, is at least proba 
ble; and he who tells nothing exceeding the bounds 
of probability, has a right to demand that they should 
believe him who cannot contradict him. 

He appears, by his modest and unaffected narra 
tion, to have described things as he saw them, to have 
copied nature from the life, and to have consulted his 
senses, not his imagination. He meets with no 
basilisks that destroy with their eyes; his crocodiles 
devour their prey without tears; and his cataracts 
fall from the rock without deafening the neighbour 
ing inhabitants. 

* For an account of this book, see the Life of Dr. JOHNSON, by 
the Editor. 


The reader will here find no regions cursed with 
irremediable barrenness, or blest with spontaneous fe 
cundity ; no perpetual gloom or unceasing sunshine ; 
nor are the nations here described either devoid of all 
sense of humanity, or consummate in all private and 
social virtues : here are no Hottentots without religion, 
polity, or articulate language; no Chinese perfectly 
polite, and completely skilled in all sciences: he will 
discover what will always be discovered by a diligent 
and impartial inquirer, that wherever human nature 
is to be found, there is a mixture of vice and virtue, 
a contest of passion and reason ; and that the Creator 
doth not appear partial in his distributions, but has 
balanced in most countries their particular inconve 
niences by particular favours. 

In his account of the mission, where his veracity 
is most to be suspected, he neither exaggerates over 
much the merits of the Jesuits, if we consider the par 
tial regard paid by the Portuguese to their country 
men, by the Jesuits to their society, and by the pa 
pists to their church, nor aggravates the vices of the 
Abyssinians: but if the reader will not be satisfied 
with a popish account of a popish mission, he may 
have recourse to the History of the Church of Abys 
sinia, written by Dr. Geddes, in which he will find 
the actions and sufferings of the missionaries placed 
in a different light, though the same in which Mr. 
Le Grand, with all his zeal for the Roman church, 
appears to have seen them. 

This learned dissertator, however valuable for his 
industry and erudition, is yet more to be esteemed 
for having dared so freely, in the midst of France, to 
declare his disapprobation of the patriarch Oviedo's 


sanguinary zeal, who was continually importuning the 
Portuguese to beat up their drums for missionaries 
who might preach the gospel with swords in their 
hands, and propagate by desolation and slaughter the 
true worship of the God of peace. 

It is not easy to forbear reflecting with how little 
reason these men profess themselves the followers of 
JESUS, who left this great characteristic to his 
disciples, that they should be known by loving one 
another, by universal and unbounded charity and be 

Let us suppose an inhabitant of some remote and 
superior region, yet unskilled in the ways of men, 
having read and considered the precepts of the gospel, 
and the example of our Saviour, to come down in 
search of the true church, if he would not inquire 
after it among the cruel, the insolent, and the oppres 
sive; among those who are continually grasping at 
dominion over souls as well as bodies; among those 
who are employed in procuring to themselves im^ 
punity for the most enormous villanies, and studying 
methods of destroying their fellow-creatures, not for 
their crimes but their errors ; if he would not expect 
to meet benevolence eng&^ed in massacres, or to find 
mercy in a court of inquisition, he would not look for 
the true church in the church of Rome. 

Mr. Le Grand has given in one dissertation an 
example of great moderation^ in deviating from the 
temper of his religion; but in the others has left 
proofs* that learning and honejty are often too weak 
to oppose prejudice. He has mide no scruple of pre 
ferring the testimony of father Du Bernat to the writ- 


ings of all the Portuguese Jesuits, to whom he allows 
great zeal, but little learning, without giving any 
other reason than that his favourite was a Frenchman. 
This is writing only to Frenchmen and to papists : a 
protestant would be desirous to know, why he must 
imagine that father Du Bernat had a cooler head or 
more knowledge, and why one man, whose account is 
singular, is not more likely to be mistaken than many 
agreeing in the same account. 

If the Portuguese were biassed by any particular 
views, another bias equally powerful may have de 
flected the Frenchman from the truth ; for they evi 
dently write with contrary designs : the Portuguese, 
to make their mission seem more necessary, endea 
voured to place in the strongest light the differences 
between the Abyssinian and Roman church \ but the 
great Ludolfus, laying hold on the advantage, re 
duced the^e later writers to prove their conformity. 

Upon the whole, the controversy seems of no great 
importance to those who believe the Holy Scriptures 
sufficient to teach the way of salvation ; but, of what 
ever moment it may be though, there are no proofs 
sufficient to decide it. 

His discourses on indifferent subjects will divert as 
well as instruct; and if either in these, or in the re 
lation of father Lobo, am argument shall appear un 
convincing, or descript on obscure, they are defects 
incident to all mankind, which however are not too 
rashly to be imputed to the authors, being sometimes 
perhaps more justly chargeable on the translator. 

In this translation (if it may be so called) great 
liberties have been ttken, which, whether justifiable 


or not, shall be fairly confessed, and let the judicious 
part of mankind pardon or condemn them. 

In the first part the greatest freedom has been used, 
in reducing the narration into a narrow compass; so 
that it is by no means a translation, but an epitome, 
in which, whether every thing 1 either useful or enter 
taining be comprised, the compiler is least qualified 
to determine. 

In the account of Abyssinia, and the continuation, 
the authors have been followed with more exactness; 
and as few passages appeared, either insignificant or 
tedious, few have been either shortened or omitted. 

The dissertations are the only part in which an ex 
act translation has been attempted ; and even in those, 
abstracts are sometimes given instead of literal quota 
tions, particularly in the first; and sometimes other 
parts have been contracted. 

Several memorials and letters, which are printed at 
the end of the dissertations to secure the credit of the 
foregoing narrative, are entirely left out. 

It is hoped that after this confession, whoever shall 
compare this attempt with the original, if he shall 
find no proofs of fraud or partiality, will candidly 
overlook any failure of judgment. 





A. HOUGH criticism has been cultivated in every 
age of learning", by men of great abilities and exten 
sive knowledge, till the rules of writing are become 
rather burthensome than instructive to the mind; 
though almost every species of composition has been 
the subject of particular treatises, and given birth to 
definitions, distinctions, precepts, and illustrations; 
yet no critic of note, that has fallen within my ob 
servation, has hitherto thought sepulchral inscrip 
tions worthy of a minute examination, or pointed out 
with proper accuracy their beauties and defects. 

The reasons of this neglect it is uselass to inquire, 
and perhaps impossible to discover; it might be 
justly expected that this kind of writing would have 
been the favourite topic of criticism, and that self- 
love might have produced some regard for it, in 
those authors that have crowded libraries with ela 
borate dissertations upon Homer; since to afford a 
subject for heroic poems is the privilege of very 
few, but every man may expect to be recorded in an 
epitaph, and therefore finds some interest in pro- 



viding 1 that his memory may not suffer by an unskilful 

If our prejudices in favour of antiquity deserve to 
have any part in the regulation of our studies, EPI 
TAPHS seem intitled to more than common regard, as 
they are probably of the same age with the art of writ 
ing. The most ancient structures in the world, the 
Pyramids, are supposed to be sepulchral monuments, 
which either pride or gratitude erected ; and the same 
passions which incited men to such laborious and ex 
pensive methods of preserving their own memory, or 
that of their benefactors, would doubtless incline 
them not to neglect any easier means by which the 
same ends might be obtained. Nature and reason 
have dictated to every nation, that to preserve good 
actions from oblivion, is both the interest and duty of 
mankind : and therefore we find no people acquainted 
with the use of letters, that omitted to grace the 
tombs of their heroes and wise men with panegyri 
cal inscriptions. 

To examine, therefore, in what the perfection of 
EPITAPHS consists, and what rules are to be observed 
in composing them, will be at least of as much use as 
other critical inquiries ; and for assigning a few hours 
to such disquisitions, great examples at least, if not 
strong reasons, may be pleaded. 

An EPITAPH, as the word itself implies, is an 
inscription on the tomb, and in its most extensive im 
port may admit indiscriminately satire or praise. 
But as malice has seldom produced monuments of 
defamation, and the tombs hitherto raised have been 
the work of friendship and benevolence, custom has 
contracted the original latitude of the word, so that 


it signifies in the general acceptation an inscrip 
tion engraven on a tomb in honour of the person de 

As honours are paid to the dead in order to incite 
others to the imitation of their excellencies, the prin 
cipal intention of EPITAPHS is to perpetuate the ex 
amples of virtue, that the tomb of a good man may 
supply the want of his presence, and veneration for 
his memory produce the same effect as the observa 
tion of his life. Those EPITAPHS are, therefore, the 
most perfect, which set virtue in the strongest light, 
and are best adapted to exalt the reader's ideas and 
rouse his emulation. 

To this end it is not always necessary to recount 
the actions of a hero, or enumerate the writings of a 
philosopher ; to imagine such informations necessary, 
is to detract from their characters, or to suppose their 
works mortal, or their atchievements in danger of 
being forgotten. The bare name of such men an 
swers every purpose of a long inscription. 

Had only the name of Sir ISAAC NEWTON been 
subjoined to the design upon his monument, instead 
of a lono* detail of his discoveries, which no philosopher 
can want, and which none but a philosopher can un 
derstand, those, by whose direction it was raised, had 
done more honour both to him and to themselves. 

This indeed is a commendation which it requires 
no genius to bestow, but which can never become 
vuljrar or contemptible, if bestowed with judg 
ment ; because no single age produces many men 
of merit superior to panegyric. None but the first 
names can stand unassisted against the attacks of 
time ; and if men raised to reputation by accident 


or caprice, have nothing- but their names engraved on 
their tombs, there is danger lest in a few years the 
inscription require an interpreter. Thus have their 
expectations been disappointed who honoured Picus 
of Mirandola with this pompous epitaph* 

Hie situs est Picus MIRANDOLA, catera notint 
Et Tagus et Ganges, forsan et Antipodes. 

His name, then celebrated in the remotest corners of 
the earth, is now almost forgotten ; and his works, then 
studied, admired* and applauded, are now moulder-* 
ing in obscurity. 

Next in dignity to the bare name is a short cha 
racter simple and unadorned, without exaggeration* 
superlatives, or rhetoric. Such were the inscriptions 
in use among the Romans, in which the victories 
gained by their emperors were commemorated by a 
single epithet ; as Caesar Germanicus, Caesar Dacicus, 
Germanicus, Illyricus. Such would be this epitaph, 
ISAACUS NEWTONUS, nature leytbus investigatis, hie 

But to far the greatest part of mankind a longer en 
comium is necessary for the publication of their* vir* 
tues, and the preservation of their memories; and in 
the composition of these it is that art is principally re 
quired, and precepts therefore may be useful. 

In writing EPITAPHS, one circumstance is to be con 
sidered, which affects no other composition ; the place 
Jn which they are now commonly found restrains 
them to a particular air of solemnity, and debars 



them from the admis/ion of all lighter or gayer or 
naments. In this it is that the style of an EptTAPH 
necessarily differs from that of an ELEGY. The 
custom of burying our dead either in or near our 
churches, perhaps originally founded on a rational de 
sign of fitting the mind for religious exercises, by 
laying before it the most affecting proof of the uncer 
tainty of life, makes it proper to exclude from our 
EPITAPHS all such allusions as are contrary to the doc* 
trines for the propagation of which the churches are 
erected, and to the end for which those who peruse the 
monuments must be supposed to come thither. No 
thing is, therefore, more ridiculous than to copy the 
Roman inscriptions, which were engraven on stones by 
the high- way, and composed by those who generally 
reflected on mortality only to excite in themselves 
and others a quicker relish of pleasure, and a more 
luxurious enjoyment of life, and whose regard for the 
dead extended no farther than a wish that the earth 
might be light upon them. 

All allusions to the heathen mythology are ther6- 
fore absurd, and all regard for the senseless remains 
of a dead man impertinent and superstitious. One of 
the first distinctions of the primitive Christians, was 
their neglect of bestowing garlands on the dead, 
in which they are very rationally defended by their 
apologist in Minutius Felix. " We lavish no flowers 
" nor odours on the dead," says he, " because they 
" have no sense of fragrance or of beauty." We 
profess to reverence the dead, not for their sake, 
but for our own. It is therefore always with in- 
4ignation or contempt that I read the epitaph on 


Cowley, a man, whose learning* and poetry trere 1m 
lowest merits, 

Aurea dwm, fate Iwa, scripta, per orbem, 
Etfatna cternum vivis, divirde Poeta, 
Hie plactdajaceas requie, cvsfodiat urftam 
C!a*a Fides, mgilcKique perentd lamp&de Musa ? 
Sit sacer ille locos, me <pds temerari&s ausii 
Sacrilege, ^Mrb&re mcuiu. vencr&bile bustwx,. 
fnt&cti maneant, .maneaaJt per s&cula dukes 
COWLEXI afccves, strcexjtquc iawnobife saxum. 

To pray that the ashes of a friend may lie un 
disturbed, and that the divinities that favoured him 
in his life, may watch for ever round him to pre 
serve his tomb from violation, and drive sacrilege 
away, is only rational in him who believes the soul 
interested in the repose of the body, and the powers 
which he invokes for its protection able to preserve it. 
To censure such expressions as contrary to religion, or 
as remains of heathen superstition^ would be too great 
a degree of severity. I condemn them only as uni 
instructive and imaflfectingv as too ludicrous for re 
verence or grief, for Christianity and a temple. 

That the designs and decorations of monuments 
ought likewise to be formed with the same regard td 
jhe solemnity of the place, cannot be denied : it is an 
established principle, that all ornaments owe their 
beauty to their propriety. The same glitter of dress 
that adds graces to gaiety and youth, would make age 
and dignity contemptible. Charon with his boat IK 
far from heightening the awful grandeur of the uni 
versal judgment, though drawn by Angelo himself; 
near is it *sisy to imagine a greater absurdity than that 



of gracing the walls of a Christian temple with the 
figure of Mars leading a hero to battle, or Cupids 
sporting round a virgin. The pope who defaced the 
statues of the deities at the tomb of Sannazarius is, in 
my opinion, more easily to be defended, than he that 
erected them. 

It is for the same reason improper to address the 
EPITAPH to the passenger, a custom which an inju 
dicious veneration for antiquity introduced again at the 
revival of letters, and which, among many others, 
Passeratius suffered to mislead him in his EPITAPH 
upon the heart of Henry king of France, who was 
stabbed by Clement the monk, which yet deserves to be 
inserted, for the sake of shewing how beautiful even 
improprieties may become, in the hands of a good 

Adsta, viator, et dole return vices, 
Cor Regis isto conditur sub marmore, 
Quijura Gallis,jura Sarmatis dedit. 
Tectus cucullo hunc sustulit sicarius. 

Abi t viator, et dole regum vices. 

In the monkish ages, however ignorant and un 
polished, the EPITAPHS were drawn up with far 
greater propriety than can be shewn in those which 
more enlightened times have produced. 

Orate pro Anima miserrimi Peccatoris, 

\as an address to the last degree striking and solemn, 
as it flowed naturally from the religion then believed, 
and awakened in the reader sentiments of benevolence 
for the deceased, and of concern for his own hap 
piness. There was nothing trifling or ludicrous, 


nothing that did not tend to the noblest end, the pro 
pagation of piety and the increase of devotion. 

It may seem very superfluous to lay it down as the 
first rule for writing EPITAPHS, that the name of the 
deceased is not to be omitted ; nor should I have 
thought such a precept necessary, had not the practice 
of the greatest writers shewn, that it has not been suf 
ficiently regarded. In most of the poetical EPITAPHS, 
the names for whom they were composed, may be 
sought to no purpose, being only prefixed' on the mo 
nument. To expose the absurdity of this omission, it 
is only necessary to ask how the EPITAPHS, which have 
outlived the stones on which they were inscribed, 
would have contributed to the information of pos 
terity, had they wanted the names of those whom 
they celebrated. 

In drawing the character of the deceased, there are 
ixo rules to be observed which do not equally relate to 
other compositions. The praise ought not to be ge 
neral, because the mind is lost in the extent of any 
indefinite idea, and cannot be affected with what it 
cannot comprehend. When we hear only of a good 
or great man, we know not in what class to place 
him, nor have any notion of his character, distinct 
from that of a thousand others; his example can have 
no effect upon our conduct, as we have nothing re 
markable or eminent to propose to our imitation. 
The EPITAPH composed by Ennins for his own tomb, 
has beth the faults last mentioned. 

Nemo me dtcoret lacrumis, nee funera, jletu 
Faxit. Cur ? volito vivu* per ora rimm, 


The reader of this EPITAPH receives scarce any 
idea from it ; he neither conceives any veneration for 
|he man to whom it belongs, nor is instructed by 
what methods this boasted reputation is to be ob 

Though a sepulchral inscription is professedly a 
panegyric, and, therefore, not confined to historical 
impartiality, yet it ought always to be written wjth 
regard to truth. No man ought to be commended 
for virtues which he never possessed, but whoever is 
Curious to know his faults mast inquire after them in 
other places ; the monuments of the dead are not in 
tended to perpetuate the memory of crimes, but to ex 
hibit patterns of virtue. On the tomb of Maecenas his 
luxury is not to be mentioned with his munificence, 
nor is the proscription to find a place on the monu 
ment of Augustus. 

The best subject for EPITAPHS is private virtue; 
virtue exerted in the same circumstances in which the 
bulk of mankind are placed, and which, therefore, 
may admit of many imitators. He that has delivered 
his country from oppression, or freed the world from 
ignorance and error, can excite the emulation of a 
very small number ; but he that has repelled the temp 
tations of poverty, and disdained to free himself from 
distress at the expence of his virtue, may animate mul 
titudes, by his example, to the same firmness of heart 
and steadiness of resolution. 

Of this kind I cannot forbear the mention of 
two Greek inscriptions; one upon a man whose writ 
ings are well known, the other upon a person whose 
memory is preserved only in her EPITAPH, whp both 


lived in slavery, the most calamitous estate in human 

i| 9Tiy txa-cx, fMvca ru (rw^art eta At;, 
TW crwari vuv Uii fXEuOe ID. 

ZOSIMA, f solo fait dim c&rp&re serva, 
Corpore nunc eha-m libera facta fuit. 

** ZOSIMA, who in her life could only have her body enslaved, 
now finds her body likewise set at liberty." 

It is impossible to read this EPITAPH without being- 
animated to bear the evils of life with constancy, and 
to support the dignity of human nature under the most 
pressing afflictions, both by the example of the he 
roine, whose grave we behold, and the prospect of 
that state in which, to use the language of the inspired 
writers, " The poor cease from their labours, and the 
weary be at rest." - 

The other is upon Epictetus, the Stoic philosopher : 

Servus Epictetus, mutilatus corpora vixi 
Pauperieque Jrws, curaque prima Deum. 

*' EPICTBTUS, who lies here, was a slave and a cripple, poor as 
the beggar in the proverb, and the favourite of Heaven." 

In this distich is comprised the noblest panegyric, 
and the most important instruction. We may learn 
from it, that virtue is impracticable in no condition, 


since Epictetus could recommend himself to the regard 
of Heaven, amidst the temptations of poverty and 
slavery : slavery, which has always been found so de 
structive to virtue, that in many languages a slave and 
a thief are expressed by the same word. And we may 
be likewise admonished by it, not to lay any stress on a 
man's outward circumstances, in making an estimate 
of his real value, since Epictetus the beggar, the crip-, 
pie, and the slave, was the favourite of Heaven. 





-1 HE time is now come in which every English 
man expects to be informed of the national af 
fairs, and in which he has a right to have that ex 
pectation gratified. For whatever may be urged 
by ministers, or those whom vanity or interest make 
the followers of ministers, concerning the necessity 
of confidence in our governors, and the presump 
tion of prying with profane eyes into the recesses 
of policy, it is evident, that this reverence can be 
claimed only by counsels yet unexecuted, and pro 
jects suspended in deliberation. But when a design 
has ended in miscarriage or success, when every eye 
and every ear is witness to general discontent, or ge 
neral satisfaction, it is then a proper time to disen 
tangle confusion, and illustrate obscurity, to shew 


by what causes every event was produced, and in 
what effects it is likely to terminate : to lay down 
with distinct particularity what rumour always hud 
dles in general exclamations, or perplexes by undi 
gested narratives ; to shew whence happiness or cala 
mity is derived, and whence it may be expected ; and 
honestly to lay before the people what inquiry can 
gather of the past, and conjecture can estimate of the. 

The general subject of the present war is sufficiently 
known. It is allowed on both sides, that hostilities 
began in America, and that the French and English 
quarrelled about the boundaries of their settlements, 
about grounds and rivers to which, I am afraid, nei 
ther can shew any other right than that of power, and 
which neither can occupy but by usurpation, and the 
dispossession of the natural lords and original inhabi 
tants. Such is the contest, that no honest man cao 
heartily wish success to either party. 

It may indeed be alleged, that the Indians have 
granted large tracts of land both to one and to the 
other; but these grants can add little to the validity of 
our titles, till it be experienced how they were ob 
tained : for if they were extorted by violence, or in 
duced by fraud ; by threats, which the miseries of other 
nations had shewn not to be vain, or by promises of 
ivhich no performance was ever intended, what are 
they but new modes of usurpation, but new instances 
of cruelty and treachery ? 

And indeed what but false hope or resistless terror 
can prevail upon a weaker nation to invite a stronger 
into their country, to give their lands to strangers 


whom no affinity of manners, or similitude .of opi 
nion, can be said to recommend, to permit them 
to build towns from which the natives are excluded, 
to raise fortresses by which they are intimidated, to 
settle themselves with such strength, that they can 
not afterwards be expelled, but are for ever to remain 
the masters of the original inhabitants, the dictators 
of their conduct, and the arbiters of their fate ? 

When we see men acting- thus against the precepts 
of reason, and the instincts of nature, we cannot he 
sitate to determine, that by some means or other they 
were debarred from choice ; that they were lured or 
frighted into compliance ; that they either granted 
only what they found impossible to keep, or expected 
advantages upon the faith of their new inmates, which 
there was no purpose to confer upon them. It cannot 
be said, that the Indians originally invited us to their 
coasts ; we went uncalled and unexpected to nations 
who had no imagination that the earth contained any 
inhabitants so distant and so different from themselves. 
We astonished them with our ships, with our arms, 
and with our general superiority. They yielded to us 
as to beings of another and higher race, sent among 
them from some unknown regions, with power which 
naked Indians could not resist, and which they were 
therefore, by every act of humility, to propitiate, that 
they, who could so easily destroy, might be induced to 

To this influence, and to this only, are to be attri 
buted all the cessions and submissions of the Indian 
princes, if indeed any such cessions were ever made, 
of which we have no witness but those who claim 


from them ; and there is no great malignity in suspect 
ing that those who have robbed have also lied. 

Some colonies indeed have been established more 
peaceably than others. The utmost extremity of 
wrong has not always been practised ; but those that 
have settled in the new world on the fairest tejms, 
have no other merit than that of a scrivener who ruins 
in silence, over a plunderer that seizes by force ; all 
have taken what had other owners, and all have had 
recourse to arms, rather than quit the prey on which 
they had fastened. 

The American dispute between the French and us 
is therefore only the quarrel of two robbers for the 
spoils of a passenger ; but as robbers have terms of 
confederacy, which they are obliged to observe as 
members of the gang, so the English and French may 
have relative rights, and do injustice to each other, 
while both are injuring the Indians. And such, in 
deed, is the present contest : they have parted the 
northern continent of America between them, and arc 
now disputing about their boundaries, and each is en 
deavouring the destruction of the other by the help of 
the Indians, whose interest it is that both should be 

Both nations clamour with great vehemence about 
infractions of limits, violation of treaties, open usurpa 
tion, insidious artifices, and breach of faith. The Eng 
lish rail at the perfidious French, and the French at 
the encroaching English; they quote treaties on each 
side, charge each other with aspiring to universal 
monarchy, and complain on either part of the insecu 
rity of possession near such turbulent neighbours. 


Through this mist of controversy it can raise no 
wonder that the truth is not easily discovered. When 
a quarrel has been long 1 carried on between indi 
viduals, it is often very hard to tell by whom it was 
begun. Every fact is darkened by distance, by inte 
rest, and by multitudes. Information is not easily 
procured from far ; those whom the truth will not 
favour, will not step voluntarily forth to tell it; and 
where there are many agents, it is easy for every 
single action to be concealed. 

All these' causes concur to the obscurity of the 
question, " By whom were hostilities in America 
" commenced ?" Perhaps there never can be re 
membered a time in which hostilities had ceased. 
Two powerful colonies inflamed with immemorial 
rivalry, and placed out of the superintendence of the 
mother nations, were not likely to be long at rest. 
Some opposition was always going forward, some 
mischief was every day done or meditated, and the 
borderers were always better pleased with what they 
could snatch from their neighbours, than what they 
had of their own. 

In this disposition to reciprocal invasion a cause of 
dispute never could be wanting. The forests and 
deserts of America are without land-marks, and there 
fore cannot be particularly specified in stipulations ; 
the appellations of those wide-extended regions have 
in every mouth a different meaning, and are under 
stood on either side as inclination happens to contract 
or extend them. Who has yet pretended to define 
how much of America is included in Brazil, Mexico, 
or Peru ? It is almost as easy to divide the Atlantic 


ocean by a line, as clearly to ascertain the limits of 
those uncultivated, uninhabitable, unmeasured regions. 

It is likewise to be considered, that contracts con 
cerning- boundaries are often left vague and indefinite 
without necessity, by the desire of each party, to in 
terpret the ambiguity to its own advantage when a 
fit opportunity shall be found. In forming stipula 
tions, the commissaries are often ignorant, and often 
negligent; they are sometimes Weary with debate, 
and contract a tedious discussion into general terms, 
or refer it to a former treaty, which was never under 
stood. The weaker part is always afraid of requir 
ing explanations, and the stronger always has an in 
terest in leaving the question undecided : thus it will 
happen, without great caution on either side, that 
after long treaties solemnly ratified, the rights that 
had been disputed are still equally open to contro 

In America, it may easily be supposed, that there 
are tracts of land not yet claimed by either party, and 
therefore mentioned in no treaties, which yet one or 
4he other may be afterwards inclined to occupy ; but 

to these vacant and unsettled countries each nation 

may pretend, as each conceives itself intitled to all 
that is not expressly granted to the other. 

Here then is a perpetual ground of contest : every 
enlargement of the possessions of either will be consi 
dered as something taken from the other, and each 
will endeavour to regain what had never been claim 
ed, but that the other occupied it. 

Thus obscure in its original is the American contest, 
It is difficult to find the first invader, or to tell where 


invasion properly begins; but I suppose it is not to 
be doubted, that after the last war, when the French 
had made peace with such apparent superiority, they 
naturally began to treat us with less respect in distant 
parts of the world, and to consider us as a people from 
whom they had nothing to fear, and who could no 
longer presume to contravene their designs, or to 
check their progress. 

The power of doing wrong with impunity .seldom 
waits long for the will; and it is reasonable to believe, 
that in America the French would avow their purpose 
of aggrandizing themselves with at least as little re 
serve as in Europe. We may therefore readily believe, 
that they were unquiet neighbours, and had no great 
regard to right, which they believed us no longer able 
to enforce. 

That in forming a line of forts behind our colonies, if 
in no other part of their attempt, they had acted against 
the general intention, if not against the literal terms 
of treaties, can scarcely be denied; for it never can be 
supposed that we intended to be enclosed between the 
sea and the French garrisons, or preclude ourselves 
from extending our plantations backwards to any 
length that our convenience should require. 

With dominion is conferred every thing that can 
secure dominion. He that has the coast, has likewise 
the sea to a certain distance ; he that possesses a for 
tress, has the right of prohibiting another fortress to be 
built within the command of its cannon. When there 
fore we planted the coast of North- America, we sup 
posed the possession of the inland region granted to an 
indefinite extent, and every nation that settled in that 


part of the world, seems, by the permission of every 
other nation, to have made the same supposition in its 
.own favour. 

Here then, perhaps, it will be safest to fix the jus 
tice of our cause; here we are apparently and indis^ 
putably injured, and this injury may, according- to 
the practice of nations, be justly resented. Whether 
we have not in return made some encroachments upon 
them, must be left doubtful, till our practices on the 
Ohio shall be stated and vindicated. There are na 
two nations confining on each other, between whom 
a war may not always be kindled with plausible pre 
tences on either part, as there is always passing be 
tween them a reciprocation of injuries, and fluctua 
tion of encroachments. 

From the conclusion of the last peace perpetual 
complaints of the supplant ations and invasions of the 
French have been sent to Europe from our colonies, and 
transmitted to our mi n isters at Paris, where g*ood words 
were sometimes given us, and the practices of the 
American commanders were sometimes disowned, but 
no redress was ever obtained, nor is it probable that any 
prohibition was sent to America. We were still amused 
with such doubtful promises as those who are afraid of 
war are ready to interpret in their own favour, and the 
French pushed forward their line of fortresses, and 
seemed to resolve that before our complaints were fi 
nally dismissed, all remedy should be hopeless. 

We likewise endeavoured at the same time to 
form a barrier against the Canadians by sending a 
colony to New Scotland, a cold uncomfortable tract 
of ground, of which we had long the nominal pos- 


session before we really began to occupy it. To this 
those were invited whom the cessation of war deprived 
of employment, and made burthensome to their coun 
try; and settlers were allured thither by many fal 
lacious descriptions of fertile valleys and clear skies. 
What effects these pictures of American happiness had 
upon my countrymen, I was never informed, but I 
suppose very few sought provision in those frozen re 
gions, whom guilt or poverty did not drive from their 
native country. About the boundaries of this new 
colony there were some disputes, but as there was 
nothing yet worth a contest, the power of the French 
was not much exerted on that side ; some disturbance 
was however given, and some skirmishes ensued. But 
perhaps being peopled chiefly with soldiers, who would 
rather live by plunder than by agriculture, and who 
consider war as their best trade, New Scotland would 
be more obstinately defended than some settlements 
of far greater value ; and the French are too well in 
formed of their own interest, to provoke hostility 
for no advantage, or to select that country for in 
vasion, where they must hazard much and can win 
little. They therefore pressed on southward behind 
our ancient and wealthy settlements, and built fort 
after fort at such distances that they might conve 
niently relieve one another, invade our colonies with 
sudden incursions, and retire to places of safety before 
our people could unite to oppose them. 

This design of the French has been long formed, 
and long known, both in America and Europe, and 
might at first have been easily repressed, had force 
been used instead of expostulation. When the English 
attempted a settlement upon the island of St. Lucia, 



the French, whether justly or not, considering 1 it as 
neutral and forbidden to be occupied by either nation, 
immediately landed upon it, and destroyed the houses, 
wasted the plantations, and drove or carried away the 
inhabitants. This was done in the time of peace, 
when mutual professions of friendship were daily ex 
changed by the two courts, and was not considered as 
any violation of treaties, nor was any more than a 
very soft remonstrance made on our part. 

The French therefore taught us how to act; but 
an Hanoverian quarrel with the house of Austria for 
some time induced us to court, at any expence, the al 
liance of a nation whose very situation makes them 
our enemies. We suffered them to destroy our set 
tlements, and to advance their own, which we had an 
equal right to attack. The time however came at 
last, when we ventured to quarrel with Spain, and then 
France no longer suffered the appearance of peace to 
subsist between us, but aimed in defence of her ally. 

The events of the war are well known ; we pleased 
ourselves with a victory at Dettingen, where we left 
our wounded men to the care of our enemies, but our 
army was broken at Fontenoy and Val ; and though 
after the disgrace which we suffered in the Mediter 
ranean, we had some naval success, and an accidental 
dearth made peace necessary for the French, yet they 
prescribed the conditions, obliged us to give hostages, 
and acted as conquerors, though as conquerors of 

In this war the Americans distinguished themselves 
in a manner unknown- and unexpected. The New 
English raised an army, and under the command of 
Pepperel took Cape Breton, with the assistance of the 


fleet. This is the most important fortress in America. 
We pleased ourselves so much with the acquisition, 
that we could not think of restoring it ; and, among 
the arguments used to inflame the people against 
Charles Stuart, it was very clamorously urged, that if 
he gained the kingdom, he would give Cape Breton 
back to the French. 

The French however had a more easy expedient to 
regain Cape Breton than by exalting Charles Stuart 
to the English throne. They took in their turn Fort 
St. George, and had our East India Company wholly 
in their power, whom they restored at the peace to 
their former possessions, that they may continue to 
export our silver. 

Cape Breton therefore was restored, and the FrencFi 
were re-established in America, with equal power and 
greater spirit, having lost nothing by the war which 
they had before gained. 

To the general reputation of their arms, and that 
habitual superiority which they derive from it, they 
owe their power in America, rather than to any real 
strength, or circumstances of advantage. Their num 
bers are yet not great; their trade, though daily i/n- 
proved, is not very extensive; their country is barren'; 
their fortresses, though numerous, are weak, and ra 
ther shelters from wild beasts, or savage nations, than 
places built for defence against bombs or cannons. 
Cape Breton has been found not to be impregnable; 
nor, if we consider the state of the places possessed by 
the two nations in America, is there any reason upon 
which the French should have presumed to molest u?, 
but that they thought our spirit so broken that we 


durst not resist them; and in this opinion pur long 
forbearance easily confirmed them. 

We forgot, or rather avoided to think, that what 
we delayed to do must be done at last, and done with 
more difficulty, as it was delayed longer; that while 
we were complaining, and they were eluding, or an 
swering our complaints, fort was rising upon fort, 
and one invasion made a precedent for another. 

This confidence of the French is exalted by some 
real advantages. If they possess in those countries 
less than we, they have more to gain, and less to 
hazard; if they are less numerous, they are better 

The French compose one body with one head. 
They have all the same interest, and agree to pursue 
it by the same means. They are subject to a gover 
nor, commissioned by an absolute monarch, and par 
ticipating the authority of, his master. Designs are 
therefore formed without debate, and executed with 
out impediment. They have yet more martial than 
mercantile ambition, and seldom suffer their military 
schemes to be entangled with collateral projects of 
gain : they have no wish but for conquest, of which 
they justly consider riches as the consequence. 

Some advantages they will always have as invaders. 
They make war at the hazard of their enemies : the 
contest being carried on in our territories, we must 
lose more by a victory, than they will suffer by a de 
feat. They will subsist, while they stay, upon our 
plantations ; and perhaps destroy them when they can 
stay no longer. If we pursue them, and carry the 
war into their dominions, our difficulties will increase 


every step as we advance, for we shall leave plenty 
behind us, and find nothing in Canada but lakes and 
forests barren and trackless ; our enemies will shut 
themselves up in their forts, against which it is diffi 
cult to bring cannon through so rough a country, 
and which, if they are provided with good magazines, 
will soon starve those who besiege them. 

All these are the natural effects of their govern 
ment and situation ; they are accidentally more for 
midable as they are less happy. But the favour of the 
Indians which they enjoy, with very few exceptions, 
among all the nations of the northern continent, we 
ought to consider with other thoughts ; this favour 
we might have enjoyed, if we had been careful to 
deserve it. The French, by having these savage 
nations on their side, are always supplied with spies 
and guides, and with auxiliaries, like the Tartars to 
the Turks, or the Hussars to the Germans, of no great 
use against troops ranged in order of battle, but very 
well qualified to maintain a war among woods and ri 
vulets, where much mischief might be done by unex 
pected onsets, and safety be obtained by quick re 
treats. They can waste a colony by sudden inroads, 
surprise the straggling planters, frighten the inha 
bitants into towns, hinder the cultivation of lands, and 
starve those whom they are not able to conquer. 






JL HE present system of English politics may pro 
perly be said to have taken rise in the reign of 
Queen Elizabeth. At this time, the Protestant reli 
gion was established, which naturally allied us to the 
reformed state, and made all the popish powers our 

We began in the same reign to extend our trade, 
by which we made it necessary to ourselves to watch 
the commercial progress of our neighbours ; and, if 
not to incommode and obstruct their traffic, to hin 
der them from impairing ours. 

We then likewise settled colonies in America, 
which was become the great scene of European am 
bition ; for, seeing with what treasures the Spaniards 
were annually enriched from Mexico and Peru, every 
nation imagined, that an American conquest or plan 
tation would certainly fill the mother country with 
gold and silver. This produced a large extent of 
very distant dominions, of which we, at this time, 


neither knew nor foresaw the advantage or incum- 
brance : we seem to have snatched them into our 
hands, upon no very just principles of policy, only be 
cause every state, according to a prejudice of long- 
continuance, concludes itself more powerful as its ter 
ritories become larger. 

The discoveries of new regions, which were then 
every day made, the profit of remote traffic, and the 
necessity of long voyages, produced, in a few years, a 
great multiplication of shipping. The sea was consi 
dered as the wealthy element ; and, by degrees, a new 
kind of sovereignty arose, called naval dominion. 

As the chief trade of the world, so the chief ma 
ritime power was at first in the hands of the Portu 
guese and Spaniards, who, by a compact, to which the 
consent of other princes was not asked, had divided 
the newly-discovered countries between them; but 
the crown of Portugal having fallen to the king of 
Spain, or being seized by him, he was master of the 
ships of the two nations, with which he kept all the 
coasts of Europe in alarm, till the Armada, which he 
had raised at a vast expence for the conquest of Eng 
land, was destroyed, which put a stop, and almost an 
end, to the naval power of the Spaniards. 

At this time the Dutch, who Were oppressed by the 
Spaniards, and feared yet greater evils than they felt, 
resolved no longer to endure the insolence of their 
masters : they therefore revolted ; and after a struggle, 
in which they were assisted by the money and forces of 
Elizabeth, erected an independent and powerful com 

When the inhabitants of the Low-Countries had 


formed their system of government, and some re 
mission of the war gave them leisure to form schemes 
of future prosperity, they easily perceived, that as 
their territories were narrow, and their numbers small, 
they could preserve themselves only by that t power 
which is the consequence of wealth; and that by a 
people whose country produced only the necessaries 
of life, wealth was not to be acquired, but from fo 
reign dominions, and by the transportation of the pro 
ducts of one country into another. 

From this necessity, thus justly estimated, arose a 
plan of commerce, which was for many years prose 
cuted with industry and success, perhaps never seen 
in the world before, and by which the poor tenants of 
mud- walled villages and impassable bogs, erected 
themselves into high and mighty states, who put the 
greatest monarchs at defiance, whose alliance was 
courted by the proudest, and whose power was dreaded 
by the fiercest nation. By the establishment of this 
state there arose to England a new ally, and a new rival. 

At this time, which seems to be the period de 
stined for the change of the face of Europe, France 
began first to rise into power ; and, from defending 
her own provinces with difficulty and fluctuating 
success, to threaten her neighbours with encroach 
ments and devastations. Henry the Fourth having, 
after a long struggle, obtained the crown, found 
it easy to govern nobles exhausted and wearied with a 
long civil war, and having composed the disputes 
between the Protestants and Papists, so as to obtain 
at least a truce for both parties, was at leisure to 
accumulate treasure, and raise forces, which he pur 


posed to have employed in a design of settling- for 
ever the balance of Europe. Of this great scheme he 
lived not to see the vanity, or to feel the disappoint 
ment j for he was murdered in the midst of his mighty 

The French, however, were in this reign taught 
to know their own power ; and the great designs of 
a king, whose wisdom they had so long experienced, 
even though they were not brought to actual experi 
ment, disposed them to consider themselves as masters 
of the destiny of their neighbours ; and, from that 
time, he that shall nicely examine their schemes and 
conduct, will, I believe, find that they began to take an 
air of superiority to which they had never pretended 
before ; and that they have been always employed 
more or less openly upon schemes of dominion, though 
with frequent interruptions from domestic troubles, 
and with those intermissions which human counsels 
must always suffer, as men intrusted with great affairs 
are dissipated in youth, and languid in age, are embar 
rassed by competitors, or, without any external reason, 
change their minds. 

France was now no longer in dread of insults and 
invasions from England. She was not only able to 
maintain her own territories, but prepared, on all oc 
casions, to invade others; and we had now a neigh 
bour whose interest it was to be an enemy, and who 
has disturbed us, from that time to this, with open 
hostility or secret machinations. 

Such was the state of England and its neighbours, 
when Elizabeth left the crown to James of Scotland. 
It has not, I think, been frequently observed by 
historians at how critical a time the union of the 


two kingdoms happened. Had England and Scot 
land continued separate kingdoms, when Fiance was 
established in the full possession of her natural power, 
the Scots, in continuance of the league, which it would 
now have been more than ever their interest to ob 
serve, would, upon every instigation of the French 
court, have raised an army with French money, and 
harassed us with an invasion, in which they would 
have thought themselves successful, whatever numbers 
they might, have left behind them. To a people 
warlike and indigent, an incursion into a rich country 
is never hurtful. The pay of France and the plunder 
of the northern counties, would always have tempted 
them to hazard their lives, and we should have been 
under a necessity of keeping a line of garrisons along 
our border. 

This trouble, however, we escaped by the accession 
of king James; but it is uncertain, whether his na 
tural disposition did not injure us more than his ac 
cidental condition happened to benefit us. He was 
a man of great theoretical knowledge, but of no 
practical wisdom ; he was very well able to discern the 
true interest of himself, his kingdom, and his poste 
rity, but sacrificed it, upon all occasions, to his pre 
sent pleasure or his present ease ; so conscious of his 
own knowledge and abilities, that he would not suffer 
a minister to govern, and so lax of attention, and ti 
morous of opposition, that he was not able to govern 
for himself. With this character James quietly saw 
the Dutch invade our commerce ; the French grew 
every day stronger and stronger ; and the Protestant 
interest, of which he boasted himself the head, was op- 


pressed on every side, while he writ, and hunted, and 
dispatched ambassadors, who, when their master's 
weakness was once known, were treated in foreign 
courts with very little ceremony. James, however, 
took care to be flattered at home, and was neither 
angry nor ashamed at the appearance that he made in 
other countries. 

Thus England grew weaker, or, what is in po 
litical estimation the same thing-, saw her neigh 
bours grow stronger, without receiving proportion 
able additions to her own power. Not that the 
miscKief was so great as it is generally conceived or 
represented ; for, I believe, it may be made to ap 
pear, that the wealth of the nation was, in this 
reign, very much increased, though that of the 
crown was lessened. Our reputation for war was 
impaired; but commerce seems to have been car 
ried on with great industry and vigour, and nothing 
was wanting, but that we should have defended 
ourselves from the encroachments of our neigh 

The inclination to plant colonies in America still 
continued, and this being the only project in which 
men of adventure and enterprise could exert their 
qualities in a pacific reign, multitudes, who were 
discontented with their condition in their native coun 
try, and such multitudes there will always be, sought 
relief, or at least a change, in the western regions, 
where they settled in the northern part of the conti 
nent, at a distance from the Spaniards, at that time 
almost the only nation that had any power or will to 
obstruct us. 


Such was the condition of this country when the 
unhappy Charles inherited the crown. He had seen 
the errors of his father, without being able to prevent 
them, and, when he began his reign, endeavoured 
to raise the nation to its former dignity. The French 
Papists had begun a new war upon the Protestants : 
Charles sent a fleet to invade Rhee and relieve Ro- 
chelle, but his attempts were defeated, and the Pro 
testants were subdued. The Dutch, grown wealthy 
and strong, claimed the right of fishing in the British 
seas : this claim the king, who saw the increasing 
power of the states of Holland, resolved to contest. 
But for this end it was necessary to build a fleet, and 
a fleet could not be built without expence : he was 
advised to levy ship-money, which gave occasion to 
the Civil War, of which the events and conclusion are 
too well known. ?>*', 

While the inhabitants of this island were embroiled 
among themselves, the power of France and Holland 
was every day increasing. The Dutch had overcome 
the difficulties of their infant commonwealth; and 
as they still retained their vigour and industry, from 
rich grew continually richer, and from powerful more 
powerful. They extended their traffic, and had not 
yet admitted luxury ; so that they had the means 
and the will to accumulate wealth without any in 
citement to spend it. The French, who wanted no 
thing to make them powerful, but a prudent regula 
tion of their revenues, aad a proper use of their natu 
ral advantages, by the successive care of skilful mi 
nisters, became every day stronger, and more conscious 
of their strength. 



About this time it was, that the French first began 
to turn their thoughts to traffic and navigation, and 
to desire like other nations an American territory. All 
the fruitful and valuable parts of the western world 
were already either occupied or claimed, and nothing 
remained for France but the leavings of other navi 
gators, for she was not yet haughty enough to seize 
what the neighbouring powers had already appro 

The French therefore contented themselves with 
sending a colony to Canada, a cold uncomfortable 
uninviting region, from which nothing but furs and 
fish were to be had, and where the new inhabitants 
could only pass a laborious and necessitous life, in per 
petual regret of the deliciousness and plenty of their 
native country. 

Notwithstanding the opinion which our countrymen 
have been taught to entertain of the comprehension 
and foresight of French politicians, I am not able to 
persuade myself, that when this colony was first planted, 
it was thought of much value, even by those that en 
couraged it; there was probably nothing more in 
tended than to provide a drain into which the waste 
of an exuberant nation might be thrown, a place where 
those who could do no good might live without the 
power of doing mischief. Some new advantage they 
undoubtedly saw, or imagined themselves to see, and 
what more was necessary to the establishment of the 
colony was supplied by natural inclination to experi 
ments, and that impatience of doing nothing, to which 
mankind perhaps owe much of what is imagined to be 
effected by more splendid motives. 


In this region of desolate sterility they settled them 
selves, upon whatever principle ; and as they have 
from that time had the happiness of a government by 
which no interest has been neglected, nor any part of 
their subjects overlooked, they have, by continual en 
couragement and assistance from France, been perpe 
tually enlarging their bounds and increasing their 

These were at first, like other nations who in 
vaded America, inclined to consider the neighbourhood 
of the natives, as troublesome and dangerous, and are 
charged with having destroyed great numbers : but 
they are now grown wiser, if not honester, and instead 
of endeavouring to frighten the Indians away, they in 
vite them to intermarriage and cohabitation, and al 
lure them by all practicable methods to become the 
subjects of the king of France. 

If the Spaniards, when they first took possession of 
the newly-discovered world, instead of destroying the 
inhabitants by thousands, had either had the urbanity 
or the policy to have conciliated them by kind treat 
ment, and to have united them gradually to their own 
people, such an accession might have been made to 
the power of the king of Spain, as would have made 
him far the greatest monarch that ever yet ruled in 
the globe ; but the opportunity was lost by foolishness 
and cruelty, and now can never be recovered. 

When the parliament had finally prevailed over 
our king, and the army over the parliament, the in 
terest of the two commonwealths of England and Hol 
land soon appeared to be opposite, and a new go 
vernment declared war against the Dutch. In this 


contest was exerted the utmost power of the two na 
tions, and the Dutch were finally defeated, yet not with 
such evidence of superiority as left us much reaspn to 
boast our victory ; they were obliged however to solicit 
peace, which was granted them on easy conditions ; 
and Cromwell, who was now possessed of the supreme 
power, was left at leisure to pursue other designs. 

The European powers had not yet ceased to look 
with envy on the Spanish acquisitions in America, 
and therefore Cromwell thought, that if he gained any 
part of these celebrated regions, he should exalt his 
own reputation and enrich the country. He there 
fore quarrelled with the Spaniards upon some such 
subject of contention as he that is resolved upon 
hostility may always find, and sent Penn and Venables 
into the western seas. They first landed in Hispaniola, 
whence they were driven off with no great reputation 
to themselves; and that they might not return with 
out having done something, they afterwards invaded 
Jamaica, where they found less resistance, and ob 
tained that island, which was afterwards consigned to 
us, being probably of little value to the Spaniards, 
and continues to this day a place of great wealth, and 
dreadful wickedness, a den of tyrants, and a dungeon 
of slaves. 

Cromwell, who perhaps had not leisure to study fo 
reign politics, was very fatally mistaken with regard 
to Spain and France. Spain had been the last power 
i Europe, which had openly pretended to give law 
to other nations, and the memory of this terror re 
mained when the real cause was at an end. We had 
more lately been frighted by Spain than by France, 


and though very few were then alive of the gene 
ration that had their sleep broken by the Armada, 
yet the name of the Spaniards was still terri 
ble, and a war against them was pleasing to the 

Our own troubles had left us very little desire to 
look out upon the continent, and inveterate prejudice 
hindered us from perceiving, that for more than half 
a century the power of France had been increasing, 
and that of Spain had been growing less ; nor does it 
seem to have been remembered, which yet required 
no great depth of policy to discern, that of two mo- 
narchs, neither of which could be long our friend, it 
was our interest to have the weaker near us ; or that 
if a war should happen, Spain, however wealthy or 
strong in herself, was by the dispersion of her territo 
ries more obnoxious to the attacks of a naval power, 
and consequently had more to fear from us, and had it 
less in her power to hurt us. 

All these considerations were overlooked by the 
wisdom of that age, and Cromwell assisted the French 
to drive the Spaniards out of Flanders, at a time when 
it was our interest to have supported the Spaniards 
against France, as formerly the Hollanders against 
Spain, by which we might at least have retarded the 
growth of the French power, though I think it must 
have finally prevailed. 

During this time our colonies, which were less 
disturbed by our commotions than the mother- 
country, naturally increased ; it is probable that 
many who were unhappy at home took shelter in 
those remote regions, where, for the sake of in- 


viting greater numbers, every one was allowed to 
think and live his own way. The French settlement 
in the mean time went slowly forward, too inconsi 
derable to raise any jealousy, and too weak to attempt 
any encroachments. 

When Cromwell died, the confusions that followed 
produced the restoration of monarchy, and some time 
was employed in repairing the ruins of our consti 
tution, and restoring the nation to a state of peace. 
In every change there will be many that suffer real or 
imaginary grievances, and therefore many will be dis 
satisfied. This was, perhaps, the reason why several 
colonies had their beginning in the reign of Charles 
the Second. The Quakers willingly sought refuge in 
Pennsylvania j and it is not unlikely that Carolina owed 
its inhabitants to the remains of that restless dispo 
sition, which had given so much disturbance to our 
country, and had now no opportunity of acting at 

The Dutch still continuing to increase in wealth and 
power, either kindled the resentment of their neigh 
bours by their insolence, or raised their envy by their 
prosperity. Charles made war upon them without 
much advantage : but they were obliged at last to 
confess him the sovereign of the narrow seas. They 
were reduced almost to extremities by an invasion 
from France ; but soon recovered from their conster 
nation, and, by the fluctuation of war, regained their 
cities and provinces with the same speed as they had 
lost them. 

During the time of Charles the Second the power 
of France was every day increasing ; and Charles, 
who never disturbed himself with remote conse- 



quences, saw the progress of her arms, and the ex 
tension of her dominions, with very little uneasiness. 
He was indeed sometimes driven by the prevailing 
faction into confederacies against her ; but as he had, 
probably, a secret partiality in her favour, he never 
persevered long in acting against her, nor ever acted 
with much vigour : so that, by his feeble resistance, 
he rather raised her confidence than hindered her 

About this time the French first began to perceive 
the advantage of commerce, and the importance of 
a naval force ; and such encouragement was given to 
manufactures, and so eagerly was every project re 
ceived by which trade could be advanced, that, in a 
few years, the sea was filled with their ships, and all 
the parts of the world crowded with their merchants. 
There is, perhaps, no instance in human story of such 
a change produced, in so short a time, in the schemes 
and manners of a people, of so many new sources of 
wealth opened, and such numbers of artificers and 
merchants made to start out of the ground, as was 
seen in the ministry of Colbert. 

Now it was that the power of France became for 
midable to England. Her dominions were large be 
fore, and her armies numerous ; but her operations 
were necessarily confined to the continent. She had 
neither ships for the transportation of her troops, nor 
money for their support in distant expeditions. Colbert 
saw both these wants, and saw that commerce only 
would supply them. The fertility of their country 
furnishes the French with commodities ; the poverty 
of the common people keeps the price of labour low. 
By the obvious practice of selling much and buying 


little, it was apparent that they would soon draw the 
wealth of other countries into their own ; and, by car 
rying- out their merchandise in their own vessels, a 
numerous body of sailors would quickly be raised. 

This was projected, and this was performed. The 
king- of France was soon enabled to bribe those whom 
he could not conquer, and to terrify with his fleets 
those whom his armies could not have approached. 
The influence of France was suddenly diffused all over 
the globe ; her arms were dreaded, and her pensions 
received in remote regions, and those were almost 
ready to acknowledge her sovereignty, who, a few 
years before, had scarcely heard her name. She thun 
dered on the coasts of Africa, and received ambassa 
dors from Siam. 

So much may be done by one wise man endea 
vouring with honesty the advantage of the public. 
But that we may not rashly condemn all ministers as 
wanting wisdom or integrity whose counsels have 
produced no such apparent benefits to their country, 
it must be considered, that Colbert had means of 
acting, which our government does not allow. Ha 
could enforce all his orders by the power of an ab 
solute monarch ; he could compel individuals to 
sacrifice their private profit to the general good; ha 
could make one understanding preside over many 
hands, and remove difficulties by quick and violent 
expedients. Where no man thinks himself under 
any obligation to submit to another, and, instead of 
co-operating in one great scheme, every one hastens 
through by-paths to private profit, no great change 
can suddenly be made; nor is superior knowledge 



of much effect, where every man resolves to use his 
own eyes and his own judgment, and every one ap 
plauds his own dexterity and diligence, in pro 
portion as he becomes rich sooner than his neigh 

Colonies are always the effects and causes of na 
vigation. They who visit many countries find some 
in which pleasure, profit, or safety invite them to 
settle; and these settlements, when they are once 
made, must keep a perpetual correspondence with the 
original country to which they are subject, and on 
which they depend for protection in danger, and sup 
plies in necessity. So that a country, once discovered 
and planted, must always find employment for ship 
ping, more certainly than any foreign commerce, 
which, depending on casualties, may be sometimes 
more and sometimes less, and which other nations 
may contract or suppress. A trade to colonies can 
never be much impaired, being, in reality, only an 
intercourse between distant provinces of the same 
empire, from which intruders are easily excluded; 
likewise the interest and affection of the correspondent 
parties, however distant, is the same. 

On this reason all nations, whose power has been 
exerted on the ocean, have fixed colonies in remote 
parts of the world ; and while those colonies subsisted, 
navigation, if it did not increase, was always preserved 
from total decay. With this policy the French were 
well acquainted, and therefore improved and aug 
mented the settlements in America, and other regions, 
in proportion as they advanced their schemes of naval 


The exact time in which they made their acqui 
sitions in America, or other quarters of the globe, it 
is not necessary to collect. It is sufficient to observe, 
that their trade and their colonies increased together; 
and if their naval armaments were carried on, as they 
really were, in greater proportion to their commerce, 
than can be practised in other countries, it must be 
attributed to the martial disposition at that time pre 
vailing in the nation, to the frequent wars which 
Lewis the Fourteenth made upon his neighbours, and 
to the extensive commerce of the English and Dutch, 
which afforded so much plunder to privateers, that 
war was more lucrative than traffic. 

Thus the naval power of France, continued to in 
crease during the reign of Charles the Second, who, 
between his fondness of ease and pleasure, the strug 
gles of faction which he could not suppress, and his 
inclination to the friendship of absolute monarchy, 
had not much power or desire to repress it. And 
of James the Second, it could not be expected that he 
should act against his neighbours with great vigour, 
having the whole body of his subjects to oppose. 
He was not ignorant of the real interest of his coun 
try; he desired its power and its happiness, and 
thought rightly, that there is no happiness without re 
ligion ; but he thought very erroneously and absurdly, 
that there is no religion without popery. 

When the necessity of self-preservation had im 
pelled the subjects of James to drive him from the 
throne, there came a time in which the passions, 
as well as interest of the government, acted against 
the French, and in which it may perhaps be reason- 


ably doubted, whether the desire of humbling- France 
was not stronger than that of exalting England : of 
this, however, it is not necessary to inquire, since, 
though the intention may be different, the event will 
be the same. All mouths were now open to declare 
what every eye had observed before, that the arms of 
France were become dangerous to Europe ; and that, 
if her encroachments were suffered a little longer, re 
sistance would be too late. 

It was now determined to re-assert the empire of 
the sea; but it was more easily determined than per 
formed : the French made a vigorous defence against 
the united power of England and Holland, and were 
sometimes masters of the ocean, though the two ma 
ritime powers were united against them. At length, 
however, they were defeated at La Hogue ; a great 
part of their fleet was destroyed, and they were re^ 
duced to carry on the war only with their privateers, 
from whom there was suffered much petty mischief, 
though there was no danger of conquest or invasion. 
They distressed our merchants, and obliged us to the 
continual expence of convoys and fleets of observation ; 
and, by skulking in little coves and shallow waters, 
escaped our pursuit. 

In this reign began our confederacy with the 
Dutch, which mutual interest has now improved into 
a friendship, conceived by some to be inseparable; 
and from that time the States began to be termed, in 
the style of politicians, our faithful friends, the allies 
which Nature has given us, our Protestant confede 
rates, and by many other names of national endear 
ment. We have, it is true, the same interest, as op- 


posed to France, and some resemblance of religion, as 
opposed to popery; but we have such a rivalry, in 
respect of commerce, as will always keep us from very 
close adherence to each other. No mercantile man, or 
mercantile nation, has any friendship but for money, 
and alliance between them will last no longer than 
their common safety or common profit is endangered ; 
no longer than they have an enemy, who threatens to 
take from each more than either can steal from the 

We were both sufficiently interested in repressing 
the ambition, and obstructing the commerce of 
France; and therefore we concurred with as much 
fidelity and as regular co-operation as is commonly 
found. The Dutch were in immediate danger, the 
armies of their enemies hovered over their country, 
and therefore they were obliged to dismiss for a time 
their love of money, and their narrow projects of pri 
vate profit, and to do what a trader does not willingly 
at any time believe necessary, to sacrifice a part for 
the preservation of the whole. 

A peace was at length made, and the French with 
their usual vigour and industry rebuilt their fleets, re 
stored their commerce, and became in a very few 
years able to contest again the dominion of the sea. 
Their ships were well built, and always very nume 
rously manned ; their commanders, having no hopes 
but from their bravery or their fortune, were resolute, 
and being very carefully educated for the sea, were 
eminently skilful. 

All this was soon perceived, when queen Anne, 
the then darling of England, declared war against 


France. Our success by sea, though sufficient to 
keep us from dejection, was not such as dejected our 
enemies. It is, indeed, to be confessed, that we did 
not exert our whole naval strength ; Marlborough was 
the governor of our counsels, and the great view of 
Marlborough was a war by land, which he knew well 
how to conduct, both to the honour of his country, 
and his own profit. The fleet was therefore starved 
that the army might be supplied, and naval ad 
vantages were neglected for the sake of taking a town 
in Flanders, to be garrisoned by our allies. The 
French, however, were so weakened by one defeat 
after another, that, though their fleet was never de 
stroyed by any total overthrow, they at last retained 
it in their harbours, and applied their whole force to 
the resistance of the confederate army, that now be 
gan to approach their frontiers, and threatened to lay 
waste their provinces and cities. 

In the latter years of this war, the danger of their 
neighbourhood in America seems to have been con 
sidered, and a fleet was fitted out and supplied with 
a proper number of land forces to seize Quebec, the 
capital of Canada, or New France; but this expedition 
miscarried, like that of Anson against the Spaniards, 
by the lateness of the season, and our ignorance of the 
coasts on which we were to act. We returned with 
loss, and only excited our enemies to greater vigi 
lance, and perhaps to stronger fortifications. 

When the peace of Utrecht was made, which those 
who clamoured among us most loudly against it, 
found it their interest to keep, the French applied 
tjiemselves with the utmost industry to the extension 


of their trade, which we were so far from hindering 1 , 
that for many years our ministry thought their friend 
ship of such value, as to be cheaply purchased by 
whatever concession. 

Instead therefore of opposing 1 , as we had hitherto 
professed to do, the boundless ambition of the House 
of Bourbon, we became on a sudden solicitous for its 
exaltation, and studious of its interest. We assisted 
the schemes of France and Spain with our fleets, and 
endeavoured to make those our friends by servility, 
whom nothing but power will keep quiet, and who 
must always be our enemies while they are endea 
vouring to grow greater, and we determine to remain 

That nothing might be omitted which could testify 
our willingness to continue on any terms the good 
friends of France, we were content to assist not only 
their conquests but their traffic ; and though we did 
not openly repeal the prohibitory laws, we yet tamely 
suffered commerce to be carried on between the two 
nations, and wool was daily imported, to enable them 
to make cloth, which they carried to our markets, and 
sold cheaper than we. 

During all this time, they were extending and 
strengthening their settlements in America, contriving 
new modes of traffic, and framing new alliances with 
the Indian nations. They began now to find these 
northern regions, barren and desolate as they are, suf 
ficiently valuable to desire at least a nominal posses 
sion, that might furnish a pretence for the exclusion of 
others ; they therefore extended their claim to tracts 
of land, which they could never hope to occupy, took 


care to give their dominions an unlimited magnitude, 
have given in their maps the name of Louisiana to a 
country, of which part is claimed by the Spaniards, 
and part by the English, without any regard to ancient 
boundaries, or prior discovery. 

, When the return of Columbus from his great voyage 
had filled all Europe with wonder and curiosity, Henry 
the Seventh sent Sebastian Cabot to try what could be 
found for the benefit of England : he declined the 
track of Columbus, and steering to the westward, fell 
upon the island, which, from that time, was called 
by the English, Newfoundland. Our princes seem to 
have considered themselves as entitled by their right of 
prior seizure to the northern parts of America, as the 
Spaniards were allowed by universal consent their claim 
to the southern region for the same reason ; and we ac 
cordingly made our principal settlements within the 
limits of our own discoveries, and, by degrees, planted 
the eastern coast from Newfoundland to Georgia. 

As we had, according to the European principles, 
which allow nothing to the natives of these regions, 
our choice of situation in this extensive country, we 
naturally fixed our habitations along the coast, for the 
sake of traffic and correspondence, and all the con- 
veniencies of navigable rivers. And when one port or 
river was occupied, the next colony, instead of fixing 
themselves in the inland parts behind the former, went 
on southward, till they pleased themselves with another 
maritime situation. For this reason our colonies have 
more length than depth ; their extent from east to 
west, or from the sea to the interior country, bears no 
proportion to their reach along the coast from north 
to south. 


It was, however, understood, by a kind of tacit 
compact among the commercial powers, that posses 
sion of the coast included a right to the inland : and, 
therefore, the charters granted to the several colonies 
limit their districts only from north to south, leaving 
their possessions from east to west unlimited and dis 
cretional, supposing that, as the colony increases, they 
may take lands as they shall want them, the possession 
of the coasts excluding other navigators, and the un 
happy Indians having no right of nature or of nations. 

This right of the first European possessor was not 
disputed till it became the interest of the French to 
question it. Canada, or New France, on which they 
made their first settlement, is situated eastward of our 
colonies, between which they pass up the great river 
of St. Lawrence, with Newfoundland on the north, 
and Nova Scotia on the south. Their establishment in 
this country was neither envied nor hindered ; and they 
lived here, in no great numbers, a long time, neither 
molesting their European neighbours, nor molested 
by them. 

But when they grew stronger and more numerous, 
they began to extend their territories; and, as it is na-> 
tural for men to seek their own convenience, the desire 
of more fertile and agreeable habitations tempted them 
southward. There is land enough to the north and 
west of their settlements, which they may occupy with 
as good right as can be shewn by the other European 
usurpers, and which neither the English nor Spaniards 
will contest ; but of this cold region they have enough 
already, and their resolution was to get a better coun* 
try. This was not to be had but by settling to the 


west of our plantations, on ground which has been 
hitherto supposed to belong to us. 

Hither, therefore, they resolved to remove, and to 
fix, at their own discretion, the western border of our 
colonies, which was heretofore considered as unlimited. 
Thus by forming a line of forts, in some measure pa 
rallel to the coast, they enclose us between their garri 
sons and the sea, and not only hinder our extension 
westward, but, whenever they have a sufficient navy 
in the sea, can harass us on each side, as they can in 
vade us at pleasure from one or other of their forts. 

This design was not perhaps discovered as soon as 
it was formed, and was certainly not opposed so soon 
as it was discovered ; we foolishly hoped, that their en 
croachments would stop, that they would be prevailed 
on by treaty and remonstrance, to give up what they 
had taken, or to put limits to themselves. We suf 
fered them to establish one settlement after another, to 
pass boundary after boundary, and add fort to fort, 
till at last they grew strong enough to avow their de 
signs, and defy us to obstruct them. 

By these provocations long continued, we are at 
length forced into a war, in which we have had hither 
to very ill fortune. Our troops under Braddock were 
dishonourably defeated ; our fleets have yet done no 
thing more than taken a few merchant-ships, and have 
distressed some private families, but have very little 
weakened the power of France. The detention of 
their seamen makes it indeed less easy for them to fit 
out their navy ; but this deficiency will be easily sup 
plied by the alacrity of the nation, which is always 
eager for war. 


It is unpleasing to represent our affairs to our own 
disadvantage ; yet it is necessary to shew the evils 
which we desire to be removed ; and, therefore, some 
account may very properly be given of the measures 
which have given them their present superiority. 

They are said to be supplied from France with bet 
ter governors than our colonies have the fate to obtain 
from England. A French governor is seldom chosen 
for any other reason than his qualifications for his trust. 
To be a bankrupt at home, or to be so infamously 
vicious that he cannot be decently protected in his own 
country, seldom recommends any man to the govern 
ment of a French colony. Their officers are com 
monly skilful either in war or commerce, and are 
taught to have no expectation of honour or preferment, 
but from the justice and vigour of their administration. 

Their great security is the friendship of the natives, 
and to this advantage they have certainly an indubi 
table right ; because it is the consequence of their vir 
tue. It is ridiculous to imagine, that the friendship i 
of nations, whether civil or barbarous, can be gained 
and kept but by kind treatment; and surely they who 
intrude, uncalled, upon the country of a distant people, 
ought to consider the natives as worthy of common 
kindness, and content themselves to rob without in 
sulting them. The French, as has been already ob 
served, admit the Indians, by intermarriage, to an 
equality with themselves ; and those nations, with 
which they have no such near intercourse, they gain 
over to their interest by honesty in their dealings. 
Our factors and traders, having no other purpose in 
view than immediate profit, use all the arts of an Eu- 


ropean counting-house, to defraud the simple hunter 
of his furs. 

These are some of the causes of our present weak 
ness ; our planters are always quarrelling- with their 
governor, whom they consider as less to be trusted than 
the French ; and our traders hourly alienate the In 
dians by their tricks and oppressions, and we continue 
every day to shew by new proofs, that no people can 
be great who have ceased to be virtuous. 






X HE first effect which this book has upon the reader 
is that of disgusting- him with the author's vanity. 
He endeavours to persuade the world, that here are 
some new treasures of literature spread before his 
eyes; that something is discovered, which to this 
happy day had been concealed in darkness ; that by 
his diligence time had been robbed of some valuable 
monument which he was on the point of devouring ; 
and that names and facts doomed to oblivion are now 
restored to fame. 

How must the unlearned reader be surprised, when 
he shall be told that Mr. Blackwell has neither digged 
in the ruins of any demolished city, nor found out the 
way to the library of Fez : nor had a single book in his 
hands, that has not been in the possession of every man 
that was inclined to read it, for years and ages ; and 
that his book relates to a people who above all others 
have furnished employment to the studious, and 




amusements to the idle ; who have scarcely left be 
hind them a coin or a stone, which has not been ex 
amined and explained a thousand times, and whose 
dress, and food, and household stuff, it has been the 
pride of learning to understand. 

A man need not fear to incur the imputation of vi 
cious diffidence or affected humility, who should have 
forborn to promise many novelties, when he perceived 
such multitudes of writers possessed of the same mate 
rials, and intent upon the same purpose. Mr. Black - 
well knows well the opinion of Horace, concerning' 
those that open their undertakings with magnificent 
promises; and he knows likewise the dictates of com*- 
mon sense and common honesty, names of greater 
authority than that of Horace, who direct that no 
man should promise what he cannot perform. 

I do not mean to/ declare that this volume has no 
thing new, or that the labours of those who have gone 
before our author, have made his performance an use 
less addition to the burden of literature. New works 
may be constructed with old materials, the disposition 
of the parts may shew contrivance, the ornaments in 
terspersed may discover elegance. 

It is not always without good effect that men of 
proper qualifications write in succession on the same 
subject, even when the latter add nothing to the in 
formation given by the former ; for the same ideas 
may be delivered more intelligibly or more delight 
fully by one than by another, or with attractions that 
may lure minds of a different form. No writer pleases 
all, and every writer may please some. 

But after all, to inherit is not to acquire ; to de 
corate is not to make ; and the man who had no- 


thing" to do but to read the ancient authors, who 
mention the Roman affairs, and reduce them to com 
mon-places, ought not to boast himself as a great 
benefactor to the studious world. 

After a preface of boast, and a letter of flattery, 
in which he seems to imitate the address of Horace 
in his vile potabis modicis Sabinum -he opens his 
book with telling us, that the " Roman republic, 
" after the horrible proscription, was no more at 
" bleeding Rome. The regal power of her consuls, 
" the authority of her senate, and the majesty of 
" her people, were now trampled under foot ; these 
" [for those] divine laws and hallowed customs, that 
" had been the essence of her constitution were set 
" at nought, and her best friends were lying exposed 
in their blood/' 

These were surely very dismal times to those who 
suffered ; but I know not why any one but a school 
boy in his declamation should whine over the com 
monwealth of Rome, which grew great only by the 
misery of the rest of mankind. The Romans, like 
others, as soon as they grew rich grew corrupt, and, 
in their corruption, sold the lives and freedoms of 
themselves, and of one another. 

" About this time Brutus had his patience put 
" to the highest trial : he had been married to Clodia; 
" but whether the family did not please him, or 
" whether he was dissatisfied with the lady's be- 
" haviour during his absence, he soon entertained 
" thoughts of a separation. This raised a good deal 
" of talk, and the women of the Clodian family in- 
" veighed bitterly against Brutus but he married 
" Portia, who was worthy of such a father as M. 



" Cato, and such a husband as M. Brutus. She had 
(( a soul capable of an exalted passion, and found a 
" proper object to raise and give it a sanction ; she 
did not only love but adored her husband ; his 
worth, his truth, his every shining- and heroic 
" quality, made her gaze on him like a god, while 
" the endearing returns of esteem and tenderness she 
" met with, brought her joy, her pride, her every 
" wish to center in her beloved Brutus.' ' 

When the reader has been awakened by this rap 
turous preparation, he hears the whole story of Portia 
in the same luxuriant style, till she breathed out her 
last, a little before the bloody proscription, and " Bru- 
" tus complained heavily of his friends at Rome, as 
" not having paid due attention to his Lady in the 
" declining state of her health." 

He is a great lover of modern terms. His se 
nators and their wives are Gentlemen and Ladies. In 
his review of Brutus's army, which 'was under the 
command of gallant men, not braver officers, than true 
patriots, he tells us, " that Sextus the Questor was 
" Paymaster, Secretary at War, and Commissary Ge- 
" neral, and that the sacred discipline of the Romans 
" required the closest connexion, like that of father 
" and son, to subsist between the General of an army 
" and his Questor. Cicero was General of the Caval- 
" ry, and the next general officer was Flavius, Master 
" of the Artillery, the elder Lentulus was Admiral, 
" and the younger rode in the Band of Volunteers; 
" under these the tribunes, with many others too tedious 
" to name." Lentulus, however, was but a subor 
dinate officer ; for we are informed afterwards, that 
the Romans had made Sextus Pompeius Lord High 
Admiral in all the seas of their dominions. 


Among other affectations of this writer is a ftu 
rious and unnecessary zeal for liberty, or rather for 
one form of government as preferable to another. 
This indeed might be suffered, because political in 
stitution is a subject in which men have always dif 
fered, and if they continue to obey their lawful 
governors, and attempt not to make innovations for 
the sake of their favourite schemes, they may differ 
for ever without any just reproach from one another. 
But who can bear the hardy champion who ventures 
nothing ? who in full security undertakes the defence 
of the assassination of Caesar, and declares his resolu 
tion to speak plain P Yet let not just sentiments be 
overlooked: he has justly observed, that the greater 
part of mankind will be naturally prejudiced against 
Brutus, for all feel the benefits of private friendship ; 
but few can discern the advantages of a well-consti 
tuted government. 

We know not whether some apology may not be 
necessary for the distance between the first account of 
this book and its continuation. The truth is, that this 
work not being forced upon our attention by much 
public Applause or censure, was sometimes neg 
lected, and sometimes forgotten ; nor would it, per* 
haps, have been now resumed, but that we might 
avoid to disappoint our readers by an abrupt desertion 
of any subject. 

It is not our design to criticise the facts of this 
history, but the style ; not the veracity, but the ad 
dress of the writer ; for, an account of the ancient Ro 
mans, as it cannot nearly interest any present reader, 
and must be drawn from writings that have bean long 
known, can owe its value only to the language iu 


which it is delivered, and the reflections with which it 
is accompanied. Dr. Blackwell, however, seems to 
have heated his imagination so as to be much affected 
with every event, and to believe that he can affect 
others. Enthusiasm is indeed sufficiently contagious; 
but I never found any of his readers much enamoured 
of the glorious Pompey, the patriot approved, or much 
incensed against the lawless Ctesar, whom this author 
probably stabs every day and night in his sleeping or 
waking dreams. 

He is come too late into the world with his fury 
for freedom, with his Brutus and Cassius. We have 
all on this si^e of the Tweed long since settled our 
opinions : his zeal for Roman liberty and declamations 
against the violators of the republican constitution, 
only stand now in the reader's way, who wishes to 
proceed in the narrative without the interruption of 
epithets and exclamations. It is not easy to forbear 
laughter at a man so bold in fighting shadows, so busy 
in a dispute two thousand years past, and so zealous 
for the honour of a people who while they were poor 
robbed mankind, and as soon as they became rich, 
robbed one another. Of these robberies our author 
seems to have no very quick sense, except when they 
are committed by Caesar's party, for every act is 
sanctified by the name of a patriot. 

If this author's skill in ancient literature were less 
generally acknowledged, one might sometimes sus 
pect that he had too frequently consulted the French 
writers. He tells us that Archelaus the Rhodian 
made a speech to Cassius, and in so saying dropt some 
tears, and that Cassius after the reduction of Rhodes 


Was covered with glory. Deiotarus was a keen and 
happy spirit. The ingrate Castor kept his court. 

His great delight is to shew his universal ac 
quaintance with terms of art, with words that every 
other polite writer has avoided and despised. When 
Pompey conquered the pirates, he destroyed fifteen 
hundred ships of the line. The Xanthian parapets 
were tore down. Brutus suspecting* that his troops 
were plundering*, commanded the trumpets to sound to 
their colours. Most people understood the act of at 
tainder passed by the senate. The Numidian troopers 
were unlikely in their appearance. The Numidians 
beat up one quarter after another. Salvidienus re 
solved to pass his men over in boats of leather, and 
he gave orders for equipping a sufficient number of 
that sort of small craft. Pompey had light agile fri 
gates, and fought in a strait where the current and 
caverns occasion swirls and a roll. A sharp out-look 
was kept by the admiral. It is a run of about 
fifty Roman miles. Brutus broke Lipella in the sight 
of the army. Mark Antony garbled the senate. He 
was a brave man, well qualified for a commodore. 

In his choice of phrases he frequently uses words 
with great solemnity, which every other mouth and 
pen has appropriated to jocularity and levity ! The 
Rhodians gave up the contest, and in poor plight fled 
back to Rhodes. Boys and girls were easily kid 
napped. Deiotarus was a mighty believer of au 
gury. Deiotarus destroyed his ungracious progeny. 
The regularity of the Romans was their mortal 
aversion. They desired the consuls to curb such 
heinous doings, He had such a shrewd invention, 


that no side of a question came amiss to him. Brutus 
found his mistress a coquettish creature. 

He sometimes, with most unlucky dexterity, mixes 
the grand and the burlesque together ; the violation of 
faith, Sir, says Cassius, lies at the door of the R/to- 
dians by reiterated acts of perfidy. The iron grate 
fell down, crushed those under it to death, and catched 
the rest as in a trap. When the Xanthians heard the 
military shout, and saw the flame mount, they con 
cluded there would be no mercy. It was now about 
sun-set, and they had been at hot work since noon. 

He has often words or phrases with which our 
language has hitherto had no knowledge. One was 
a heart-friend to the republic. A deed was expeded. 
The Numidians begun to reel, and were in hazard 
of falling into confusion. The tutor embraced his 
pupil close in his arms. Four hundred women were 
taxed, who have no doubt been the wives of the best 
Roman citizens. Men not born to action are incon 
sequential in government collectitious troops. The 
foot, by their violent attack, began the fatal break 
in the Pharsaliac field. He and his brother, with a 
politic common to other countries, had taken opposite 

His epithets are of the gaudy or hyperbolical kind. 
The glorious news. Eager hopes and dismal fears. 
Bleeding Rome; divine laws and hallowed customs; 
merciless war; intense anxiety. 

Sometimes the reader is suddenly ravished with a 
sonorous sentence, of which, when the noise is past, 
the meaning does not long remain. When Brutus 
set his legions to fill a moat, instead of heavy drag- 
ging and slow toil, they set about it with huzzas and 


racing', as if they had been striving at the Olympic 
games. They hurled impetuous down the huge 
trees and stones, and with shouts forced them into 
the water ; so that the work, expected to continue 
half the campaign, was with rapid toil completed 
in a few days. Brutus's soldiers fell to the gate with 
resistless fury, it gave way at last with hideous crash. 
This great and good man, doing his duty to his 
country, received a mortal wound, and glorious fell 
in the cause of Rome ; may his memory be ever dear 
to all lovers of liberty, learning and humanity !- 
This promise ought ever to embalm his memory. 
The queen of nations was torn by no foreign in 
vader. Rome fell a sacrifice to her own sons, and 
was ravaged by her unnatural offspring : all the 
great men of the state, all the good, all the holy, 
were openly murdered by the wickedest and worst. 
Little islands cover the harbour of Brindisi, and form 
the narrow outlet from the numerous creeks that 
compose its capacious port. At the appearance of 
Brutus and Cassius a shout of joy rent the heavens 
from the surrounding multitudes. 
. Such are the flowers which may be gathered by 
every hand in every part of this garden of eloquence. 
But having thus freely mentioned our Author's faults, 
it remains that we acknowledge his merit ; and con 
fess that this book is the work of a man of letters, 
that it is full of events displayed with accuracy, and 
related with vivacity ; and though it is sufficiently 
defective to crush the vanity of its Author, it is suffi 
ciently entertaining 1 to invite readers. 





J.T will certainly be required, that notice should be 
taken of a book, however small, written on such 
a subject, by such an author. Yet I know not whe 
ther these Letters will be very satisfactory ; for they 
are answers to inquiries not published ; and therefore, 
though they contain many positions of great import 
ance, are, in some parts, imperfect and obscure, by 
their reference to Dr. Bentley's Letters. 

Sir Isaac declares, that what he has done is due to 
nothing but industry and patient thought ; and indeed 
long consideration is so necessary in such abstruse in 
quiries, that it is always dangerous to publish the 
productions of great men, which are not known to 
have been designed for the press, and of which it is 
uncertain, whether much patience and thought have 
been bestowed upon them. The principal question 
of these Letters gives occasion to observe how even 
the mind of Newton gains ground gradually upon 


" As to your first query," says he, " it seems to 
" me, that if the matter of our sun and planets, and 
" all the matter of the universe, were evenly scattered 
" throughout all the heavens, and every particle had 
" an innate gravity towards all the rest, and the whole 
" space throughout which this matter was scattered, 
" was but finite ; the matter on the outside of this 
" space would by its gravity tend towards all the 
" matter on the inside, and by consequence fall down 
" into the middle of the whole space, and there com- 
" pose one great spherical mass. But if the matter 
" was evenly disposed throughout an infinite space, it 
" could never convene into one mass, but some of it 
" would convene into one mass, and some into an- 
" other, so as to make an infinite number of great 
" masses, scattered at great distances from one to an 
" other throughout all that infinite space. And thus 
" might the sun and fixed stars be formed, supposing 
" the matter were of a lucid nature. But how the 
" matter should divide itself into two sorts, and that 
" part of it which is fit to compose a shining body, 
" should fall down into one mass and make a sun, and 
" the rest, which is fit to compose an opaque body, 
" should coalesce, not into one great body, like the 
" shining matter, but into many little ones -, or if the 
" sun at first were an opaque body like the planets, or 
" the planets lucid bodies like the sun, how he alone 
" should be changed into a shining body, whilst all 
" they continue opaque, or all they be changed into 
" opaque ones, whilst he remains unchanged, I do hot 
" think more explicable by mere natural causes, but 
" am forced to ascribe it to the counsel and contri- 
" vance of a voluntary agent." 


The hypothesis of matter evenly disposed through 
infinite space, seems to labour with such difficulties, as 
makes it almost a contradictory supposition, or a sup- 
position destructive of itself. 

Matter evenly disposed through infinite space, is'either 
created or eternal ; if it was created; it infers a Creator ; 
if it was eternal, it had been from eternity evenly spread 
through infinite space ; or it had been once coalesced in 
masses, and afterwards been diffused. Whatever state 
was first, must have been from eternity, and what had 
been from eternity could not be changed, but by a 
cause beginning to act as it had never acted before, 
that is, by the voluntary act of some external power. 
If matter infinitely and evenly diffused was a moment 
without coalition, it could never coalesce at all by its 
own power. If matter originally tended to coalesce, 
it could never be evenly diffused through infinite space. 
Matter being supposed eternal, there never was a time 
when it could be diffused before its conglobation, or 
conglobated before its diffusion. 

This Sir Isaac seems by degrees to have under 
stood : for he says, in his second Letter, " The reason 
" why matter evenly scattered through a finite space 
" would convene in the midst, you conceive the same 
" with me ; but that there should be a central par- 
" ticle, so accurately placed in the middle, as to be 
" always equally attracted on all sides, and thereby 
" continue without motion, seems to me a supposition 
" fully as hard as to make the sharpest needle stand 
" upright upon its point on a looking-glass. For if 
" the very mathematical center of the central particle 
" be not accurately in the very mathematical center 
" of the attractive power of the whole mass, the par- 


w ticle will not be attracted equally on all sides. And 
" much harder is it to suppose all the particles in an 
" infinite space should be so accurately poised one 
" among another, as to stand still in a perfect equili* 
" brium. For I reckon this as hard as to make not 
" one needle only, but an infinite number of them (so 
" many as there are particles in an infinite space) stand 
" accurately poised upon their points. Yet I grant it 
" possible, at least by a divine power ; and if they 
" were once to be placed, I agree with you that they 
" would continue in that posture, without motion for 
*' ever, unless put into new motion by the same power. 
" When therefore I said, that matter evenly spread 
" through all space, would convene by its gravity 
" into one or more great masses, I understand it of 
" matter not resting in an accurate poise." 

Let not it be thought irreverence to this great 
name, if I observe, that by matter evenly spread 
through infinite space, he now finds it necessary to 
mean matter not evenly spread. Matter not evenly 
spread will indeed convene, but it will convene as 
soon as it exists. And, in my opinion, this puzzling 
question about matter is only how that could be that 
never could Jiave been, or what a man thinks on when 
he thinks of nothing. 

Turn matter on all sides, make it eternal, or of late 
production, finite or infinite, there can be no regular 
. system produced but by a voluntary and meaning 
agent. This the great Newton always asserted, and 
this he asserts in the third letter; but proves in an 
other manner, in a manner perhaps more happy and 


" The hypothesis of deriving the frame of the 
" world by mechanical principles from matter evenly 
" spread through the heavens being inconsistent with 
" my system, I had considered it very little before 
" your letter put me upon it, and therefore trouble 
" you with a line or two more about it, if this comes 
" not too late for your use. 

" In my former, I represented that the diurnal ro- 
" tations of the planets could not be derived from 
" gravity, but required a divine arm to impress them. 
" And though gravity might give the planets a mo- 
" tion of descent towards the sun, either directly, or 
" with some little obliquity, yet the transverse mo- 
" tions by which they revolve in their several orbs, 
" required the divine arm to impress them according 
" to the tangents of their orbs. I would now add, 
" that the hypothesis of matter's being at first etenly 
" spread through the heavens, is, in my opinion, in- 
" consistent with the hypothesis of innate gravity, 
" without a supernatural power to reconcile them, and 
" therefore it infers a Deity. For if there be innate 
" gravity, it is impossible now for the matter of the 
" earth, and all the planets and stars, to fly up from 
" them, and become evenly spread throughout all the 
" heavens, without a supernatural power; and cer- 
" tainly that which can never be hereafter without a 
" supernatural power, could never be heretofore with* 
" out the same power, " 








Miscellaneous Thoughts, Moral and Religious ; 



An ESSAY on TEA, considered as pernicious to Health, obstructing 
Industry, and impoverishing the Nation ; with an Account of its 
Growth, and great Consumption in these Kingdoms ; with several 
political Reflections; and Thoughts on Public Love: in Thirty- 
two Letters to Two Ladies. 

BY MR. H*****.'' 

[From the Literary Magazine, Vol. II. No, xiii. 1757.] 

_ ' '".' ' 

OUR readers may perhaps remember, that we 
gave them a short account of this book, with a 
letter extracted from it, in November 1756. The 
author then sent us an injunction to forbear his work 
till a second edition should appear : this prohibition 
was rather too magisterial -, for an author is no longer 


the sole master of a book which he has given to the 
public; yet he has been punctually obeyed ; we had 
no desire to offend him, and if his character may be 
estimated by his book, he is a man whose failings may 
well be pardoned for his virtues. 

The second edition is now sent into the world, cor 
rected and enlarged, and yielded up by the author to 
the attacks of criticism. But he shall find in us no 
malignity of censure. We wish indeed, that among 
other corrections, he had submitted his pages to the 
inspection of a grammarian, that the elegancies of 
one line might not have been disgraced by the im 
proprieties of another ; but with us to mean well is 
a degree of merit which overbalances much greater 
errors than impurity of style. 

We have already given in our collections one of 
the letters, in which Mr. Hanway endeavours to show, 
that the consumption of Tea is injurious to the inte 
rest of our country. We shall now endeavour to 
follow him regularly through all his observations on 
this modern luxury; but it can scarcely be candid, 
not to make a previous declaration, that he is to ex 
pect little justice from the author of this extract, a 
hardened and shameless Tea-drinker, who has for 
twenty years diluted his meals with only the infusion, 
of this fascinating plant, whose kettle has scarcely 
time to cool, who with Tea amuses the evening, with 
Tea solaces the midnight, and with Tea welcomes 
the morning. 

He begins by refuting a popular notion, that Bohea 
and Green Tea are leaves of the same shrub, gathered 
at different times of the year. He is of opinion, that 
they are produced by different shrubs. The leaves 


of Tea are gathered in dry weather ; then dried and 
curled over the fire in copper pans. The Chinese 
use little Green Tea, imagining that it hinders di 
gestion and excites fevers. How it should have 
either effect is not easily discovered ; and if we con* 
sider the innumerable prejudices which prevail con 
cerning our own plants, we shall very little regard 
these opinions of the Chinese vulgar, which experience 
does not confirm. v 

When the Chinese drink Tea, they infuse it slightly, 
and extract only the more volatile parts ; but though 
this seems to require great quantities at a time, yet 
the author believes, perhaps only because he has an 
inclination to believe it, that the English and Dutch 
use more than all the inhabitants of that extensive em 
pire. The Chinese drink it sometimes with acids, 
seldom with sugar; and this practice our author, who 
has no intention to find any thing right at home, re* 
commends to his countrymen. 

The history of the rise and progress of Tea-drink 
ing is truly curious. Tea was first imported from 
Holland by the earls of Arlington and Ossory, in 1666 ; 
from their ladies the women of quality learned its 
use. Its price was then three pounds a pound, and 
continued the same to 1707. In 1715, we began 
to use Green Tea, and the practice of drinking it 
descended to the lower class of the people. In 1720, 
the French began to send it hither by a clandestine 
commerce. Prom 1717 to 1726, we imported an 
nually seven hundred thousand pounds. From 1732 
io 1742, a million and two hundred thousand pounds 
were every year brought to London j in some year* 


afterwards three millions ; and in 1755, near four 
millions of pounds, or two thousand tons, in which we 
are not to reckon that which is surreptitiously intro 
duced, which perhaps is nearly as much. Such 
quantities are indeed sufficient to alarm us ; it is at least 
worth inquiry, to know what are the qualities of such 
a plant, and what the consequences of such a trade. 

He then proceeds to enumerate the mischiefs of 
Tea, and seems willing to charge upon it every mis 
chief that he can find. He begins, however, by ques 
tioning the virtues ascribed to it, and denies that the 
crews of the Chinese ships are preserved in their voy 
age homewards from the scurvy by Tea. About this 
report I have made some inquiry, and though I can 
not find that these crews are wholly exempt from 
scorbutic maladies, they seem to suffer them less 
than other mariners in any course of equal length. 
This I ascribe to the Tea, not as possessing any medi 
cinal qualities, but as tempting them to drink more 
water, to dilute their salt food more copiously, and 
perhaps to forbear punch, or other strong liquors. 

He then proceeds in the pathetic strain, to tell 
the ladies how, by drinking Tea, they injure their 
health, and, what is yet more dear, their beauty. 

" To what can we ascribe the numerous com- 
" plaints which prevail ? How many sweet crea- 
" tures of your sex languish with a weak digestion, 
" low spirits, lassitudes, melancholy, and twenty dis- 
" orders, which in spite of the faculty have yet no 
" names, except the general one of nervous com- 
" plaints? Let them change their diet, and among 
" other articles, leave off drinking Tea, it is more 


" than probable the greatest part of them will be re- 
" stored to health/' 

" Hot water is also very hurtful to the teeth. The 
" Chinese do not drink their Tea so hot as we do, and 
" yet they have bad teeth. This cannot be ascribed 
" entirely to sugar, for they use very little, as already 
" observed : but we all know that hot or cold things 
" which pain the teeth, destroy them also. If we 
" drank less Tea, and used gentle acids for the gums 
" and teeth, particularly sour oranges, though we had 
" a less number of French dentists, I fancy this essential 
" part of beauty would be much better preserved. 

" The women in the United Province^, who sip 
" Tea from morning till night, are also as remarkable 
" for bad teeth. They also look pallid, and many 
" are troubled with certain feminine disorders arising 
" from a relaxed habit. The Portuguese ladies, on 
" the other hand, entertain with sweetmeats, and yet 
" they have very good teeth: but their food in general 
" is more of the farinaceous and vegetable kind than 
" ours. They also drink cold water instead of sipping 
"hot, and never taste any fermented liquors; for 
" these reasons the use of sugar does not seem to be 
" at all pernicious to them/' 

" Men seem to have lost their stature and come- 
" liness, and women their beauty. I am not young, 
46 but methinks there is not quite so much beauty 
" in this land as there was. Your very chamber- 
" maids have lost their bloom, I suppose by sipping 
46 Tea. Even the agitations of the passions at cards 
" are not so great enemies to female charms. What 
" Shakespeare ascribes to the concealment of love, is 



" in this age more frequently occasioned by the use of 


To raise the fright still higher, he quotes an account 
of a pig's tail scalded with Tea, on which however he 
does not much insist. 

Of these dreadful effects, some are perhaps ima 
ginary, and some may have another cause. That 
there is less beauty in the present race of females, than 
in those who entered the world with us, all of us are 
inclined to think on whom beauty has ceased to smile ; 
but our fathers and grandfathers made the same com 
plaint before us ; and our posterity will still find beau 
ties irresistibly powerful. 

That the diseases commonly called nervous, tre 
mors, fits, habitual depression, and all the maladies 
which proceed from laxity and debility, are more 
frequent than in any former time, is, I believe, true* 
however deplorable. But this new race of evils 
will not be expelled by the prohibition of Tea. This 
general languor is the effect of general luxury, of 
general idleness. If it be most to be found among 
Tea-drinkers, the reason is, that Tea is one of the 
stated amusements of the idle and luxurious. The 
whole mode of life is changed; every kind of volun 
tary labour, every exercise that strengthened the nerves, 
and hardened the muscles, is fallen into disuse. The 
inhabitants are crowded together in populous cities, so 
that no occasion of life requires much motion ; every 
one is near to all that he wants; and the rich and de 
licate seldom pass from one street to another, but in 
carriages of pleasure. Yet we eat and drink, or strive 
to eat and drink, like the hunters and huntresses, the 


farmers and the housewives of the former generation ; 
and they that pass ten hours in bed, and eight at 
cards, and the greater part of the other six at the table, 
are taught to impute to Tea all the diseases which a 
life unnatural in all its parts may chance to bring upon 

Tea, among the greater part of those who use it 
most, is drunk in no great quantity. As it neither 
exhilarates the heart, nor stimulates the palate, it is 
commonly an entertainment merely nominal, a pre 
tence for assembling to prattle, for interrupting busi 
ness, or diversifying idleness. They who drink one 
cup, and who drink twenty, are equally punctual in 
preparing or partaking it; and indeed there are few 
but discover by their indifference about it, that they 
are brought together not by the Tea, but the Tea- 
table. Three cups make the common quantity, so 
slightly impregnated, that perhaps they might be 
tinged with the Athenian cicuta, and produce less 
effects than these Letters charge upon Tea. 

Our author proceeds to shew yet other bad quali 
ties of this hated leaf. 

" Green Tea, when made strong even by infusion, 
" is an emetic ; nay, I am told it is used as such in 
" China ; a decQclipn of it certainly performs this 
" operation ; yet by long use it is drank by many 
"without such an effect. The infusion also, when 
" it is made strong, and stands long to draw the gros- 
" ser particles, will convulse the bowels : even in the 
" manner commonly used, it has this effect on some 
" constitutions, as I have already remarked to you 
" from my own experience. 

z 2 


" You see I confess my weakness without reserve ; 
" but those who are very fond of Tea, if their di- 
" gestion is weak, and they find themselves disor- 
" dered, they generally ascribe it to any cause except 
" the true one. I am aware that the effect just 
" mentioned is imputed to the hot water ; let it be 
" so, and my argument is still good : but who pre- 
" tends to say it is not partly owing to particular 
" kinds of Tea? perhaps such as partake of copperas, 
" which there is cause to apprehend is sometimes 
" the case : if we judge from the manner in which it 
" is said to be cured, together with its ordinary ef- 
" fects, there is some foundation for this opinion. 
" Put a drop of strong Tea, either Green or Bohea, 
" but chiefly the former, on the blade of a knife, 
" though it is not corrosive in the same manner as 
" vitriol, yet there appears to be a corrosive quality in 
" it, very different from that of fruit which stains the 
" knife." 

He afterwards quotes Paulli to prove that Tea is 
a desiccative, and ought not to be used after the fortieth 
year. I have then long exceeded the limits of per 
mission, but I comfort myself, that all the enemies of 
Tea cannot be in x the right. If Tea be desiccative, 
according to Paulli, it cannot weaken the fibres, as 
our author imagines \ if it be emetic, it must con- 
stringe the stomach, rather than relax it. 

The formidable quality of tinging the knife, it has 
in common with acorns, the bark and leaves of oak, 
and every astringent bark or leaf: the copperas which 
is given to the Tea, is really in the knife. Ink may 
be made of any ferrugineous matter and astringent 


vegetable^ as it is generally made of galls and cop 

From Tea the writer digresses to spirituous liquors, 
about which he will have no controversy with the Li 
terary Magazine ; we shall therefore insert almost his 
whole letter, and add to it one testimony, that the mis 
chiefs arising on every side from this compendious 
mode of drunkenness, are enormous and insupport 
able; equally to be found among the great and the 
mean; filling palaces with disquiet and distraction; 
harder to be borne as it cannot be mentioned; and 
overwhelming multitudes with incurable diseases and 
unpitied poverty. 

" Though Tea and Gin have spread their baneful 
" influence over this island and his Majesty's other 
" dominions, yet you may be well assured, that the 
" Governors of the Foundling Hospital will exert 
" their utmost skill and vigilance, to prevent the 
" children under their care from being poisoned, or 
" enervated, by one or the other. This, however, 
" is not the case of workhouses: it is well known, 
" to the shame of those who are charged with the care 
" of them, that gin has been too often permitted to 
" enter their gates; and the debauched appetites of 
" the people who inhabit these houses, has been urged 
" as a reason for it. 

" Desperate diseases require desperate remedies: if 
" laws are rigidly executed against murderers in the 
" highway, those who provide a draught of gin, which 
" we see is murderous, ought not to be countenanced. 
" I am now informed, that in certain hospitals, where 


" the number of the sick used to be about 5,600 in 
" fourteen years, 

From 1704 to 1718, they increased to 8,189 ; 
" From 1718 to 1734, still augmented to 12,710 ; 
" And from 1734 to 1749, multiplied to 38,147. 

" What a dreadful spectre does this exhibit ! nor 
" must we wonder, when satisfactory evidence was 
" given before the great council of the nation, that 
" near eight millions of gallons of distilled spirits, at 
" the standard it is commonly reduced to for drink- 
" ing, was actually consumed annually in drams! 
" the shocking difference in the numbers of the sick, 
" and we may presume of the dead also, was supposed 
" to keep pace withdraw : and the most ingenious and 
" unprejudiced physicians ascribed it to this cause. 
" What is to be done under these melancholy cir- 
" cumstances ? shall we still countenance the distillery, 
" for the sake of the revenue; out of tenderness to the 
*' few who will suffer by its being abolished ; for fear 
" of the madness of the people; or that foreigners will 
66 run it in upon us ? There can be no evil so great as 
" that we now suffer, except the making the same 
" consumption, and paying for it to foreigners in 
" money, which I hope never will be the case. 

" As to the revenue, it certainly may be replaced 
" by taxes upon the necessaries of life, even upon 
" the bread we eat, or in other words, upon the 
" land, which is the great source of supply to the 
** public and to individuals. Nor can I persuade 
* myself, but that the people may be weaned from 


" the habit of poisoning themselves. The difficulty 
" of smuggling a bulky liquid, joined to the severity 
" which ought to be exercised towards smugglers, 
" whose illegal commerce is of so infernal a nature, 
" must in time produce the effect desired. Spi- 
" rituous liquors being abolished, instead of having 
" the most undisciplined and abandoned poor, we 
" might soon boast a race of men, temperate, religi- 
" ous, and industrious even to a proverb. We should 
*' soon see the ponderous burden of the poor's rate de- 
" crease, and the beauty and strength of the land reju- 
' venate. Schools, workhouses, and hospitals, might 
" then be sufficient to clear our streets of distress and 
" misery, which never will be the case whilst the love 
" of poison prevails, and the means of ruin is sold 
" in above one thousand houses in the city of London, 
" two thousand two hundred in Westminster, and one 
" thousand nine hundred and thirty in Hoi born and 
" St. Giles's. 

" But if other uses still demand liquid fire, I would 
" really propose, that it should be sold only in quart 
" bottles, sealed up with the King's seal, with a very 
" high duty, and none sold without being mixed with 
" a strong emetic. 

" Many become objects of charity by their intern- 
" perance, and this excludes others who are such by 
" the unavoidable accidents of life, or who cannot 
" by any means support themselves. Hence it ap- 
" pears, that the introducing new habits of life is the 
" most Substantial charity ; and that the regulation of 
" charity-schools, hospitals, and workhouses, not 
" the augmentation of their number, can make 


" them answer the wise ends for which they were in- 
" stituted. 

" The children 6'f beggars should be also taken 
" from them, and bred up to labour, as children of 
" the public. Thus the distressed might be relieved, 
"at a sixth part of the present expence ; the idle 
" be compelled to work or starve; and the mad be 
" sent to Bedlam. We should not see human nature 
" disgraced by the aged, the maimed, the sickly, and 
" young children begging their bread ; nor would 
" compassion be abused by those who have reduced 
" it to an art to catch the unwary. Nothing is want- 
" in^c but common sense and honesty in the execution 
" of laws. 

66 To prevent such abuse in the streets, seems more 
" practicable than to abolish bad habits within doors, 
" where greater numbers perish. We see in many 
" familiar instances the fatal effects of example. 
" The careless spending of time among servants, 
" who are charged with the care of infants, is often 
" fatal : the nurse frequently destroys the child ! the 
" poor infant being left neglected, expires whilst she 
" is sipping her Tea ! This may appear to you as a 
" rank prejudice or jest; but I am assured, from the 
" most indubitable evidence, that many very extraor- 
" dinary cases of this kind have really happened 
" among those whose duty does not permit of such 
" kind of habits. 

" It is partly from such causes, that nurses of the 
" children of the public often forget themselves, and 
" become impatient when infants cry : the next step 
" to this, is using extraordinary means to quiet 


44 them. I have already mentioned the term killing 
" nurse, as known in some workhouses : Venice treacle, 
" poppy water, and Godfrey's Cordial, have been the 
" kind instruments of lulling the child to his everlasting 
" rest. If these pious women could send up an eja- 
" culation when the child expired, all was well, and 
" no questions asked by the superiors. An ingenious 
" friend of mine informs me, that this has been so 
" often the case, in some workhouses, that Venice 
" treacle has acquired the appellation of the Lord 
" have mercy upon me, in allusion to the nurses 1 hack- 
" neyed expression of pretended grief when infants 
"expire! Farewell" 

I know not upon what observation Mr. Han way 
founds his confidence in the Governors of the 
Foundling- Hospital, men of whom I have not any 
knowledge, but whom I entreat to consider a little 
the minds as well as bodies of the children. I am in 
clined to believe Irreligion equally pernicious with 
Gin and Tea, and therefore think it not unseasonable 
to mention, that when a few months ago I wandered 
through the Hospital, I found not a child that seemed 
to have heard of his creed, or the commandments. 
To breed up children in this manner, is to rescue 
them from an early grave, that they may find em 
ployment for the gibbet : from dying in innocence, 
that they may perish by their crimes. 

Having considered the effects of Tea upon the 
health of the drinker, which, I think, he has ag 
gravated in the vehemence of his zeal, and which, 
after soliciting them by this watery luxury, year 
after year, I have not yet felt; he proceeds to ex 
amine how it may be shewn to affect our interest; 


and first calculates the national loss by the time 
spent in drinking Tea. I have no desire to appeal- 
captious, and shall therefore readily admit, that 
Tea is a liquor not proper for the lower classes of the 
people, as it supplies no strength to labour, or relief 
to disease, but gratifies the taste without nourishing 
the body. It is a barren superfluity, to which those 
who can hardly procure what nature requires, cannot 
prudently habituate themselves. Its proper use is to 
amuse the idle, and relax the studious, and dilute the 
full meals of those who cannot use exercise, and will 
not use abstinence. That time is lost in this insipid 
entertainment, cannot be denied; many trifle away at 
the Tea-table those moments which would be better 
spent; but that any national detriment can be inferred 
from this waste of time, does not evidently appear, 
because I know not that any work remains undone 
for want of hands. Our manufactures seem to be li 
mited, not by the possibility of work, but by the pos 
sibility of sale. 

His next argument is more clear. He affirms, 
that one hundred and fifty thousand pounds in silver 
are paid to the Chinese annually, for three millions 
of pounds of Tea, and that for two millions more 
brought clandestinely from the neighbouring coasts, 
we pay, at twenty pence a pound, one hundred sixty- 
six thousand six hundred and sixty-six pounds. The 
author justly conceives, that this computation will 
waken us; for, says he, "The loss of health, the 
" loss of time, the injury of morals, are not very 
" sensibly felt by some, who are alarmed when you 
" talk of the loss of money." But he excuses the 
East India Company, as men not obliged to be po- 


iitical arithmeticians, or to inquire so much what 
the nation loses, as how themselves may grow rich. 
It is certain, that they who drink Tea have no 
right to complain of those that import it; but if 
Mr. Hanway's computation be just, the importation 
and the use of it ought at once to be stopped by a 
penal law. 

The author allows one slight argument in favour of 
Tea, which, in my opinion, might be with far greater 
justice urged both against that and many other parts 
of our naval trade. " The Tea trade employs (he 
4< tells us) six ships, and five or six hundred seamen, 
" sent annually to China. It likewise brings in a re- 
" venue of three hundred and sixty thousand pounds, 
" which, as a tax on luxury, may be considered as of 
" great utility to the state." The utility of this tax 
I cannot find ; a tax on luxury is no better than 
another tax, unless it hinders luxury, which cannot be 
said of the impost upon Tea, while it is tlms~used 
by the great and the mean, the rich and the poor. 
The truth is, that by the loss of one hundred and fifty 
thousand pounds, we procure the means of shifting 
three hundred and sixty thousand at best, only from 
one hand to another ; but perhaps sometimes into 
hands by which it is not very honestly employed. 
Of the five or six hundred seamen sent to China, I am 
told that sometimes half, commonly a third part, 
perish in the voyage; so that, instead of setting this 
navigation against the inconveniencies already alleged, 
we may add to them, the yearly loss of two hundred 
men in the prime of life ; and reckon, that the trade 
of China has destroyed ten thousand men since the be 
ginning of this century. 


If Tea be thus pernicious, if it impoverishes our 
country, if it raises temptation, and gives opportunity 
to illicit commerce, which I have always looked on 
as one of the strongest evidences of the inefficacy of 
our law, the weakness of our government, and the 
corruption of our people, let us at once resolve to 
prohibit it for ever. 

" If the question was, how to promote industry 
" most advantageously, in lieu of our Tea-trade, sup- 
" posing every branch of our commerce to be already 
" fully supplied with men and money ? If a quarter 
" the sum now spent in Tea, were laid out annually 
" in plantations, in making public gardens, in 
" paving and widening streets, in making roads, in 
" rendering rivers navigable, erecting palaces, build- 
" ing bridges, or neat and convenient houses, where 
" are now only huts; draining lands, or rendering 
" those which are now barren of some use; should we 
" not be gainers, and provide more for health, plea- 
" sure, and long life, compared with the consequences 
"of the Tea-trade?" 

Our riches would be much better employed to 
these purposes; but if this project does not please, 
let us first resolve to save our money, and we shall 
afterwards very easily find ways to spend it. 




JL HIS is a very curious and entertaining miscellany 
of critical remarks and literary history. Though the 
book promises nothing but observations on the writings 
of Pope, yet no opportunity is neglected of intro 
ducing the character of any other writer, or the men 
tion of any performance or event in which learning 
is interested. From Pope, however, he always takes 
his hint, and to Pope he returns ag'ain from his di 
gressions. The facts which^he mentions, though they 
are seldom anecdotes in a rigorous sense, are often 
such as are very little known, and such as will delight 
more readers than naked criticism. 

As he examines the works of this great poet in 
an order nearly chronological, he necessarily begins 
with his pastorals, which considered as representations 
of any kind of life, he very justly censures; for there 
is in them a mixture of Grecian and English, of an 
cient and modern, images. Windsor is coupled with 
Hybla, and Thames with Pactolus. He then compares 
some passages which Pope has imitated or translated 


with the imitation or version, and gives the preference 
to the originals, perhaps not always upon convincing 

Theocritus makes his lover wish to be a bee, that 
he might creep among the leaves that form the chap- 
let of his mistress. Pope's enamoured swain longs to 
be made the captive bird that sings in his fair one's 
bower, that she might listen to his songs, and reward 
them with her kisses. The critic prefers the image 
of Theocritus as more wild, more delicate, and more 

It is natural for a lover to wish that he might be 
any thing that could come near to his lady. But we 
more naturally desire to be that which she fondles 
and caresses, than that which she would avoid, at least 
would neglect. The superior delicacy of Theocritus 
I cannot discover, nor can indeed find, that either in 
the one or the other image there is any want of deli 
cacy. Which of the two images was less common in 
the time of the poet who used it, for on that consider 
ation the merit of novelty depends, I think it is now 
out of any critic's power to decide. 

He remarks, I am afraid with too much justice, 
that there is not a single new thought in the pastorals ; 
and with equal reason declares, that their chief beauty 
consists in their correct and musical versification, 
which has so influenced the English ear, as to render 
every moderate rhymer harmonious. 

In his examination of the Messiah, he justly observes 
some deviations from the inspired author, which weak 
en the imagery, and dispirit the expression. 

On Windsor Forest, he declares, I think without 
proof, that descriptive poetry was by no means the 


excellence of Pope ; he draws this inference from the 
few images introduced in this poem, which would not 
equally belong- to any other place. He must inquire 
whether Windsor Forest has in reality any thing pe 

The Stag-chase is not, he says, so full, so animated, 
and so circumstantiated as Somerville's. Barely to say, 
that one performance is not so good as another, is to 
criticise with little exactness. But Pope has directed 
that we should in every work regard the author's end. 
The Stag-chase is the main subject of Somerville, and 
might therefore be properly dilated into all its circum 
stances; in Pope it is only incidental, and was to be 
dispatched in a few lines. 

He makes a just observation, that " the description 
" of the external beauties of nature is usually the first 
" effort of a young genius, before he hath studied na- 
" ture and passions. Some of Milton's most early as 
" well as most exquisite pieces are his Lycidas, 1'Alle- 
" gro, and II Penseroso, if we may except his ode on 
" the Nativity of CHRIST, which is indeed prior in 
" order of time, and in which a penetrating critic 
" might have observed the seeds of that boundless 
" imagination which was one day to produce the 
Paradise Lost." 

Mentioning Thomson and other descriptive poets, 
he remarks, that writers fail in their copies for want 
of acquaintance with originals, and justly ridicules 
those who think they can form just ideas of valleys, 
mountains, and rivers, in a garret of the Strand. For 
this reason I cannot regret with this author, that 
Pope laid aside his design of writing American pasto 
rals ; for as he must have painted scenes which he 


never saw, and manners which he never knew, his 
performance, though it might have been a pleasing 
amusement of fancy, would have exhibited no repre 
sentation of nature or of life. 

After the pastorals, the critic considers the lyric poe 
try of Pope, and dwells longest on the ode of St. Ceci 
lia's day, which he, like the rest of mankind, places 
next to that of Dry den, and not much below it. He 
remarks after Mr. Spence, that the first stanza is a per 
fect concert. The second he thinks a little flat ; he 
justly commends the fourth, but without notice of the 
best line in that stanza or in the poem : 

Transported demigods stood round, 
And men grew heroes at the sound. 

In the latter part of the ode he objects to the stanza 
of triumph : 

Thus song could reveal, &c. 

as written in a measure ridiculous and burlesque, and 
justifies his answer by observing that Addison uses the 
same numbers in the scene of Rosamond, between 
Grideline and Sir Trusty : 

How unhappy is he, &c. 

That the measure is the same in both passages must 
be confessed, and both poets perhaps chose their 
numbers properly ; for they both meant to express a 
kind of airy hilarity. The two passions of merriment 
and exultation fire undoubtedly different ; they are as 
different as a gambol and a triumph, but each is a 
species of joy ; and poetical measures have not in any 
language been so far refined as to provide for the sub 
divisions of passion. They can only be adapted to 


general purposes 5 but the particular and minuter pro 
priety mud; be sought only in the sentiment and lan- 
gfnage. Thus the numbers are the same in Colin's 
complaint, and in the ballad of Darby and Joan, though 
in one sadness is represented, and in the other tran 
quillity ; so the measure is the same of Pope's Unfortu 
nate Lady and the Praise of Voiture. 

He observes Very justly, that the odes both of Dry--> 
den and Pope conclude unsuitably and unnaturally 
with epigram. 

He then spends a page upon Mr. Handel's music to 
Dry den's od, and speaks of him with that regard which 
he has generally obtained among the lovers of sound. 
He finds something amiss in the air " With ravished 
" ears," but has overlooked or forgotten the grossest 
fault in that composition, which is that in this line : 

Revenge, revenge, Timotheus cries. 

He has laid much stress upon the two latter words, 
which are merely words of connexion, and ought in 
music to be considered as parenthetical. 

From this ode is struck out a digression on the nature 
of odes, and the comparative excellence of the ancients 
and moderns. He mentions the chorus which Pope 
wrote for the duke of Buckingham; and thence takes 
occasion to treat of the chorus of the ancients. He 
then comes to another ode of " The dying Christian to 
" his Soul," in which finding an apparent imitation of 
Flatman, he falls into a pleasing and learned specula 
tion on the resembling passages to be found in different 

He mentions with great regard Pope's ode on Soli- 
, written when he was but twelve years old, but' 



omits to mention the poem on Silence, composed, I 
think, as early, with much greater elegance of diction, 
music of numbers, extent of observation, and force of 
thought. If he had happened to think on Baillet's 
chapter of Enfans celebres, he might have made on 
this occasion a very entertaining dissertation on early 

He comes next to the Essay on Criticism, the stupen 
dous performance of a youth not yet twenty years old ; 
and after having detailed the felicities of condition, to 
which he imagines Pope to have owed his wonderful 
prematurity of mind, he tells us that he is well informed 
this essay was first written in prose. There is nothing 
improbable in the report, nothing indeed but what is 
more likely than the contrary; yet I cannot forbear to 
hint to this writer and all others, the danger and weak 
ness of trusting too readily to information. Nothing 
but experience could evince the frequency of false in 
formation, or enable any man to conceive that so 
many groundless reports should be propagated as every 
man of eminence may hear of himself. Some men 
relate what they think as what they know ; some men 
of confused memories and habitual inaccuracy ascribe 
to one man what belongs to another ; and some talk on 
without thought or care. A few men are sufficient to 
broach falsehoods, which are afterwards innocently 
diffused by successive relaters. 

He proceeds on examining passage after passage of 
this essay ; but we must pass over all these criticisms 
to which we have not something to add or to object, 
or where this author does not differ from the general 
voice of mankind. We cannot agree s with him in his 
censure of the comparison of a student advancing in 


science with a traveller passing the Alps, which is per 
haps the best simile in our language ; that in which 
the most exact resemblance is traced between things 
in appearance utterly unrelated to each other. That 
the last line conveys no new idea, is not true ; it makes 
particular what was before general. Whether the de 
scription which he adds from another author be, as he 
says, more full and striking than that of Pope, is not 
to be inquired. Pope's description is relative, and can 
admit no greater length than is usually allowed to 
a simile, nor any other particulars than such as form 
the correspondence. 

Unvaried rhymes, says this writer, highly disgust 
readers of a good ear. It is surely not the ear but the 
mind that is offended. The fault arising from the use 
of common rhymes is, that by reading the past line 
the second may be guessed, and half the composition 
loses the grace of novelty. 

On occasion of the mention of an alexandrine, the 
critic observes, that " the alexandrine may be thought 
" a_modern measure, but that Robert of Gloucester's 
" wife is an alexandrine, with the addition of two 
" syllables ; and that Sternhold and Hopkins trans- 
" lated the psalms in the same measure of fourteen 
" syllables, though they are printed otherwise." 

This seems not to be accurately conceived or express 
ed : an alexandrine with the addition of two syllables, 
is no more an alexandrine than with the detraction 
of two syllables. Sternhold and Hopkins did generally 
write in the alternate measure of eight and six syl 
lables ; but Hopkins commonly rhymed the first and 
third, Sternhold only the second and fourth : so that 
Sternhold may be considered as writing couplets of 

A A 2 


long lines ; but Hopkins wrote regular stanzas. From 
the practice of printing the long lines of fourteen syl 
lables in two short lines, arose the licence of some of 
our poets, who, though professing to write in stanzas, 
neglect the rhymes of the first and third lines. 

Pope has mentioned Petronius among the great 
names of criticism, as the remarker justly observes with 
out any critical merit. It is to be suspected that Pope 
had never read his book, and mentioned him on the 
credit of two or three sentences which he had often 
seen quoted, imagining that where there was so much 
there must necessarily be more. Young men in haste 
to be renowned, too frequently talk of books which 
they have scarcely seen. 

The revival of learning mentioned in this poem, af 
fords an opportunity of mentioning the chief periods 
of literary history, of which this writer reckons five j 
that of Alexander, of Ptolemy Philadelphus, of Au 
gustus, of Leo the Tenth, of Queen Anne. 

These observations are concluded with a remark 
which deserves great attention : " In no polished na- 
" tion, after criticism has been much studied, and the 
" rules of writing established, has any very extraor- 
" dinary book ever appeared." 

The Rape of the Lock was always regarded by Pope 
as the highest production of his genius. On occasion 
of this work, the history of the comic hero is given \ 
and we are told that it descended from Fassoni to Boi- 
leau, from Boileau to Garth, and from Garth to Pope. 
Garth is mentioned perhaps with too much honour ; 
but all are confessed to be inferior to Pope. There 
is in his remarks on this work no discovery of any la 
tent beauty, nor any thing subtle or striking ', he is 



indeed commonly right, but has discussed no difficult 

The next pieces to be considered are the Verses to 
the Memory of an unfortunate Lady, the Prologue to 
Cato, and Epilogue to Jane Shore. The first piece he 
commends. On occasion of the second he digresses, 
according to his custom, into a learned dissertation on 
tragedies, and compares the English and French with 
the Greek stage. He justly censures Cato for want of 
action and of characters ; but scarcely does justice to 
the sublimity of some speeches and the philosophical 
exactness in the sentiments. " The simile of mount 
" Atlas, and that of the Numidian traveller smothered 
" in the sands, are indeed in character," says the cri 
tic, " but sufficiently obvious/ 1 The simile of the 
mountain is indeed common ; but that of the travel 
ler I do not remember. That it is obvious is easy to 
say, and easy to deny. Many things are obvious when 
they are taught. 

He proceeds to criticise the other works of Addison, 
till the epilogue calls his attention to Rowe, whose 
character he discusses in the same manner with suffi 
cient freedom and sufficient candour. 

The translation of the epistle of Sappho to Phaon is 
next considered : but Sappho and Ovid are more the 
subjects of this disquisition than Pope. We shall there 
fore pass over it to a piece of more importance, the 
Epistle of Eloisa to Abelard, which may justly be re 
garded as one of the works on which the reputation 
of Pope will stand in future times. 

The critic pursues Eloisa through all the changes of 
passion, produces the passages of her letters to which 
any allusion is made, and intersperses many agreeable 


particulars and incidental relations. There is not much 
profundity of criticism, because the beauties are sen 
timents of nature, which the learned and the ignorant 
feel alike. It is justly remarked by him, that the wish 
of Eloisa for the happy passage of Abelard into the 
other world, is formed according to the ideas of mys 
tic devotion. 

These are the pieces examined in this volume : whe 
ther the remaining part of the work will be one vo 
lume or more, perhaps the writer himself cannot yet 
inform us. This piece is, however, a complete work, 
so far as it goes; and the writer is of opinion that he 
has dispatched the chief part of his task : for he ven 
tures to remark, that the reputation of Pope as a poet, 
among posterity, will be principally founded on his 
Windsor Forest, Rape of the Lock, and Eloisa to Abe- 
lard ; while the facts and characters alluded to in his 
late writings will be forgotten and unknown, and 
their poignancy and propriety little relished ; for wit 
and satire are transitory and perishable, but nature 
and passion are eternal. 

He has interspersed some passages of Pope's life, with 
which most readers will be pleased. When Pope was 
yet a child, his father, who had been a merchant in 
London, retired to Binfield. He was taught to read 
by an aunt ; and learned to write without a master, by 
copying printed books. His father used to order him 
to make English verses, and would oblige him to cor 
rect and retouch them over and over, and at last would 
say, " These are good rhymes." 

At eight years of age, he was committed to one 
Taverner, a priest, who taught him the rudiments of 
the Latin and Greek. At this time he met with Ogleby 's 


Homer, which seized his attention; he fell next upon 
Sandys's Ovid, and remembered these two translations 
with pleasure to the end of his life. 

About ten, being- at school near Hyde Park Corner, 
he was taken to the- play-house, and was so struck with 
the splendour of the drama, that he formed a kind of 
play out of Ogleby's Homer, intermixed with verses of 
his own. He persuaded the head-boys to act this piece, 
and Ajax was performed by his master's gardener. 
They were habited according to the pictures in Ogleby. 
At twelve he retired with his father to Windsor Forest, 
and formed himself by study in the best English poets. 

In this extract it was thought convenient to dwell 
chiefly upon such observations as relate immediately to 
Pope, without deviating with the author into incidental 
inquiries. We intend to kindle, not to extinguish, 
curiosity, by this slight sketch of a work abounding 
with curious quotations and pleasing disquisitions. He 
must be much acquainted with literary history, both 
of remote and late times, who does not find in this 
essay many things which he did not know before : and 
if there be any too learned to be instructed in facts or 
opinions, he may yet properly read this book as a just 
specimen of literary moderation. 




OF MAT 26, 1757*. 

IT is observed in the sage Gil Bias, that an ex- 
Asperated author is not easily pacified. I have, 
therefore, very little hope of making- my peace with 
the writer of the Eight Days Journey : indeed so 
little, that I have long deliberated whether I shoulcj 
not rather sit silently down under his displeasure, 
than aggravate my misfortune by a defence of 
which my heart forbodes the ill siiccess. Delibera 
tion is, often useless. I am afraid that I have at last 
made the wrong choice ; and that I might better 
have resigned my cause, without a struggle, to time 
and fortune, since I shall run the hazard of a new of 
fence, by the necessity of asking him, why he is angry* 
Distress and terror often discover to us those 
faults with which we should never have reproached 
ourselves in a happy state. Yet, dejected as I am, 
when I review the transaction between me and this 
writer, I cannot find that I have been deficient in 
reverence. When his book was first printed, he 
hints that I procured a sight of it before it was 
published. How the sight of it was procured I 

* From the Literary Magazine, Vol. II. Page 253. 


do not now very exactly remember; but if my cu 
riosity was greater than my prudence, if I laid rash 
hands on the fatal volume, I have surely suffered like 
him who burst the box from which evil rushed into 
the world. 

I took it, however, and inspected it as the work 
pf an author not higher than myself; and was con 
firmed in my opinion, when I found that these letters 
were not written to be printed. I concluded, how* 
ever, that though not written to be printed, they were 
printed to be read, and inserted one of them in the 
collection of November last. Not many days after I 
received a note, informing me, that I ought to have 
waited for a more correct edition. This injunction 
was obeyed. The edition appeared, and I supposed 
myself at liberty to tell my thoughts upon it, as upon 
any other book, upon a royal manifesto, or an act of 
parliament. But see the fate of ignorant temerity! 
I now find, but find too late, that instead of a writer 
whose only power is in his pen, I have irritated an 
important member of an important corporation; a 
man who, as he tells us in his letters, puts horses to 
his chariot. 

It was allowed to the disputant of old to yield up 
the controversy with little resistance to the master of 
forty legions. Those who know how weakly naked 
truth can defend her advocates, would forgive me if 
I should pay the same respect to a Governor of the 
Foundlings. Yet the consciousness of my own recti 
tude of intention incites me to ask once agairt, how I 
have offended. 

There arc only three subjects npon which my 
unlucky pen has happened to venture. Tea; the 


author of the Journal; and the Foundling- Hospi 

Of Tea, what have I said? That I have drank it 
twenty years without hurt, and therefore believe it 
not to be poison : that if it dries the fibres, it can 
not soften them; that if it constringes, it cannot relax. 
I have modestly doubted whether it has diminished 
the strength of our men, or the beauty of our women ; 
and whether it much hinders the progress of our 
woollen or iron manufactures ; but I allowed it to be 
a barren superfluity, neither medicinal nor nutritious, 
that neither supplied strength nor cheerfulness, neither 
relieved weariness, nor exhilarated sorrow : I inserted, 
without charge or suspicion of falsehood, the sums ex 
ported to purchase it ; and proposed a law to prohibit 
it for ever. 

Of the author I unfortunately said, that his in 
junction was somewhat too magisterial. This I said 
before I knew that he was a Governor of the Found 
lings; but he seems inclined to punish this failure 
of respect, as the Czar of Muscovy made war upon 
Sweden, because he was not treated with sufficient 
honours when he passed through the country in dis 
guise. Yet was not this irreverence without exte 
nuation. Something was said of the merit of meaning 
well, and the Journalist was declared to be a man 
whose failings might well be pardoned for his virtues. 
This is the highest praise which human gratitude can 
confer upon human merit; praise that would have 
more than satisfied Titus or Augustus, but which I 
must own to be inadequate and penurious, when of 
fered to the member of an important corporation. 

I am asked whether I meant to satirize the man 


or criticise the writer, when I say, that " he believes, 
" only perhaps because he has inclination to believe 
" it, that the English and Dutch consume more Tea 
" than the vast empire of China?'* Between the 
writer and the man, I did not at that time consider 
the distinction. The writer I found not of more than 
mortal might, and I did not immediately recollect 
that the man put horses to his chariot. But I did 
not write wholly without consideration. I knew 
but two causes of belief, evidence and inclination. 
What evidence the Journalist could have of the 
Chinese consumption of Tea, I was not able to discover. 
The officers of the East India Company are excluded, 
they best know why, from the towns and the country 
of China; they are treated as we treat gipsies and 
vagrants, and obliged to retire every night to their 
own hovel. What intelligence such travellers may 
bring is of no great importance. And though the 
missionaries boast of having once penetrated further, 
I think they have never calculated the Tea drank by 
the Chinese. There being thus no evidence for his 
opinion, to what could I ascribe it but to inclination? 
I am yet charged more heavily for having said, that 
he has no intention to find any thing right at home. I 
believe every reader restrained this imputation to the 
subject which produced it, and supposed me to insi 
nuate only that he meant to spare no part of the 
Tea-table, whether essence or circumstance. But this 
line he has selected as an instance of virulence and 
acrimony, and confutes it by a lofty and splendid 
panegyric on himself. He asserts, that he finds 
many things right at home, and that he loves his 
country almost to enthusiasm. 


I had not the least doubt that he found in his 
country many things to please him \ nor did I sup 
pose that he desired the same inversion of every part 
of life, as of the use of Tea. The proposal of 
drinking Tea sour, shewed indeed such a disposition 
to practical paradoxes, that there Was reason to fear 
lest some succeeding letter should recommend the 
dress of the Picts, or the cookery of the Esquimaux. 
However, I met with no other innovations, and there 
fore was willing to hope that he found something 
right at home. 

But his love of his country seemed not to rise 
quite to enthusiasm, when, amidst his rage against 
Tea, he made a smooth apology for the East India 
Company, as men who might not think themselves 
obliged to be political arithmeticians. I hold, though 
no enthusiastic patriot, that every man who lives 
and trades under the protection of a community, is 
obliged to consider whether he hurts or benefits those 
who protect him ; and that the most which can be in 
dulged to private interest is a neutral traffic, if any 
such can be, by which our country is not injured, 
though it may not be benefited. 

But he now renews his declamation against Tea, 
notwithstanding the greatness or power of those that 
have interest or inclination to support it. I know 
not of what power or greatness he may dream. The 
importers only have an interest in defending it. I am 
sure they are not great, and I hope they are not pow 
erful. Those whose inclination leads them to con 
tinue this practice, are too numerous, but I believe 
their power is such, as the Journalist may defy with- 


out enthusiasm. The love of our country, when it 
rises to enthusiasm, is an ambiguous and uncertain 
virtue: when a man is enthusiastic, he ceases to be 
reasonable, and when he once departs from reason, 
what will he do but drink sour Tea? As the Jour 
nalist, though enthusiastically zealous for his country, 
has, with regard to smaller things, the placid hap 
piness of philosophical indifference, I can give him no 
disturbance by advising him to restrain even the love 
of his country within due limits, lest it should some 
times swell too high, fill the whole capacity of his 
soul, and leave less room for the love of truth. 

Nothing now remains but that I review my po 
sitions concerning the Foundling Hospital. What 
I declared last month, I declare now once more, 
that I found none of the children that appeared to 
have heard of the catechism. It is inquired how 
I wandered, and how I examined ? There is doubt 
less subtilty in the question : I know not well how 
to answer it. Happily I did not wander alone; 
I attended some ladies with another gentleman, who 
all heard and assisted the inquiry with equal grief 
and indignation. I did not conceal my obser 
vations. Notice was given of this shameful defect 
soon after, at my request, to one of the highest 
names of the society. This I am now told is incre 
dible ; but since it is true, and the past is out of hu 
man power, the most important corporation cannot 
make it false. But why is it incredible? Because in 
the rules of the hospital the children are ordered to 
learn the rudiments of religion. Orders are easily 
made, but they do not execute themselves. They say 


their catechism, at stated times, under an able master. 
But this able master was, I think, not elected before 
last February; and my visit happened, if I mistake 
not, in November. The children were shy when in 
terrogated by a stranger. This may be true, but the 
same shyness I do not remember to have hindered 
them from answering other questions ; and I wonder 
why children so much accustomed to new spectators 
should be eminently shy. 

My opponent, in the first paragraph, calls the in 
ference that I made from this negligence, a hasty con 
clusion : to the decency of this expression I had no 
thing to object : but as he. grew hot in his career, his 
enthusiasm began to sparkle ; and in the vehemence of 
his postscript, he charges my assertions, and my rea 
sons for advancing them, with folly and malice. 
His argumentation being somewhat enthusiast ical, I 
cannot fully comprehend, but it seems to stand thus : 
my insinuations are foolish or malicious, since I know 
not one of the Governors of the Hospital ; for he that 
knows not the Governors of the Hospital, must be 
very foolish or malicious. 

He has, however, so much kindness for me, that 
he advises me to consult my safety when I talk of 
corporations. I know not what the most important 
corporation can do, becoming manhood, by which 
my safety is endangered. My reputation is safe, for 
I can prove the fact ; my quiet is safe, for I meant 
well; and for, any other safety, I am not used to be 
very solicitous. 

I am always sorry when I see any being labouring in 
vain ; and in return for the Journalist's attention to my 


safety, I will confess some compassion for his tumul 
tuous resentment ; since all his invectives fume into 
the air, with so little effect upon me, that I still 
esteem him as one that has the merit of meaning well ; 
and still believe him to be a man whose failings may 
be justly pardoned for his virtues. 


TO TffB 



JL HE Committee entrusted with the money contri 
buted to the relief of the subjects of France, now 
prisoners in the British dominions, here lay before 
the public an exact account of all the sums received 
and expended, that the donors may judge how pro 
perly their benefactions have been applied. 

Charity would lose its name, were it influenced by 
so mean a motive as human praise : it is therefore not 
intended to celebrate by any particular memorial, 
the liberality of single persons, or distinct societies ', 
it is sufficient that their works praise them. 

Yet he who is far from seeking* honour, may very 
justly obviate censure. If a good example has been 
set, it may lose its influence by misrepresentation; 
and to free charity from reproach, is itself a charitable 

Against the relief of the French only one argu 
ment has been brought; but that one is so popular 
and specious, that if it were to remain unexamined, 


it would by many be thought irrefragable. It has 
been urged, that charity, like other virtues, may be 
improperly and unseasonably exerted ; that while we 
are relieving Frenchmen, there remain many English 
men unrelieved ; that while we lavish pity on our 
enemies, we forget the misery of our friends. 

Grant this argument all it can prove, and what 
is the conclusion ? That to relieve the French is a 
good action, but that a better may be conceived. 
This is all the result, and this all is very little. 
To do the best can seldom be the lot of man ; it is 
sufficient if, when opportunities are presented, he is 
ready to do good. How little virtue could be prac 
tised, if beneficence were to wait always for the most 
proper objects, and the noblest occasions ; occasions 
that may never happen, and objects that may never 
be found. 

It is far from certain, that asingle Englishman will 
suffer by the charity to the French. New scenes of 
misery make new impressions; and much of the cha 
rity which produced these donations, may be supposed 
to have been generated by a species of calamity never 
known among us before. Some imagine that the 
laws have provided all necessary relief in common 
cases, and remit the poor to the care of the public; 
some have been deceived by fictitious misery, and 
are afraid of encouraging imposture; many have ob 
served want to be the effect of vice, and consider 
casual almsgivers as patrons of idleness. But all these 
difficulties vanish in the present case : we know that 
for the Prisoners of War there is no legal provision; 
we see their distress, and are certain of its cause ; we 



know that they are poor and naked, and poor and 
naked without a crime. 

But it is not necessary to make any concessions. 
The opponents of this charity must allow it to be 
good, and will not easily prove it not,to be the best. 
That charity is best, of which the consequences are 
most extensive : the relief of enemies has a tendency 
to unite mankind in fraternal affection ; to soften the 
acrimony of adverse nations, and dispose them to 
peace and amity ; in the mean time, it alleviates cap 
tivity, and takes away something from the miseries of 
war. The rage of war, however mitigated, will 
always fill the world with calamity and horror : let 
it not then be unnecessarily extended ; let animosity 
and hostility cease together; and no man be longer 
deemed an enemy, than while his sword is drawn 
against us. 

The effects of these contributions may, perhaps, 
reach still further. Truth is best supported by vir 
tue : w* may hope from those who feel or who see 
our charity, that they shall no longer detest as heresy 
that religion which makes its professors the followers 
of Him, who has commanded us to " do good to them 
that hate us." 




X>Y those who have compared the military genius 
of the English with that of the French nation, it is 
remarked, that the French officers will always lead, 
if the soldiers will follow ; and that the English sol 
diers will always follow, if their officers will lead. 

In all pointed sentences, some degree of accuracy 
must be sacrificed to conciseness ; and, in this com 
parison, our officers seem to lose what our soldiers 
gain. I know not any reason for supposing that the 
English officers are less willing than the French to lead ; 
but it is, I think, universally allowed, that the Eng 
lish soldiers are more willing to follow. Our nation 
may boast, beyond any other people in the world, of 
a kind of epidemic bravery, diffused'equally through 
all its ranks. We can shew a peasantry of heroes, and 
fill our armies with clowns, whose courage may vie 
with that of their general. 

There may be some pleasure in tracing the causes 
of this pkbeian magnanimity. The qualities which 
commonly make an army formidable, are long ha 
bits of regularity, great exactness of discipline, and 

B B 2 


great confidence in the commander. Regularity may, 
in time, produce a kind of mechanical obedience to 
signals and commands, like that which the perverse 
Cartesians impute to animals ; discipline may impress 
such an awe upon the mind, that any danger shall be 
less dreaded than the danger of punishment ; and con 
fidence in the wisdom or fortune of the general, may 
induce the soldiers to follow him blindly to the most 
dangerous enterprise. 

What may be done by discipline and regularity, 
may be seen in the troops of the Russian empress 
and Prussian monarch. We find that they may be 
broken without confusion, and repulsed without 

But the English troops have none of these requi 
sites in any eminent degree. Regularity is by no 
means part of their character : they are rarely exer 
cised, and therefore shew very little dexterity in their 
evolutions as bodies of men, or in the manual use of 
their weapons as individuals; they neither are thought 
by others, nor by themselves, more active or exact 
than their enemies, and therefore derive none of their 
courage from such imaginary superiority. 

The manner in which they are dispersed in quar 
ters over the country during times of peace, natu 
rally produces laxity of discipline : they are very 
little in sight of their officers ; and, when they are 
not engaged in the slight duty of the guard, are 
suffered to live every man his own way. 

The equality of English privileges, the impar 
tiality of our laws, the freedom of our tenures, and 
the prosperity of our trade, dispose us very little to 


reverence of superiors. It is not to any great esteem 
of the officers that the English soldier is indebted 
for his spirit in the hour of battle ; for perhaps it does 
not often happen that he thinks much better of his 
leader than of himself. The French count, who has 
lately published the Art of War, remarks how much 
soldiers are animated, when they see all their dangers 
shared by those who were born to be thei>- masters, 
and whom they consider as beings of a different rank. 
The Englishman despises such motives of courage : he 
was born without a master; and looks not on any 
man, however dignified by lace or titles, as deriving 
from nature any claims to his respect, or inheriting 
any qualities superior to his own. 

There are some, perhaps, who would imagine that 
every Englishman fights better than the subjects of ab 
solute governments, because he has more to defend. 
But what has the English more than the French sol 
dier ? Property they are both commonly without. 
Liberty is, to the lowest rank of every nation, little 
more than the choice of working or starving ; and this 
choice is, I suppose, equally allowed in every country. 
The English soldier seldom has his head very full of 
the constitution ; nor has there been, for more than a 
century, any war that put the property or liberty of a 
single Englishman in danger. 

Whence then is the courage of the English vulgar ? 
It proceeds, in my opinion, from that dissolution 
of dependance which obliges every man to regard 
his own character. While every man is fed by his 
own hands, he has no need of any servile arts ; he 
may always have wages for his labour ; and is no 
less necessary to his employer, than his employer is 


to him. While he looks for no protection from 
others, he is naturally roused to be his own protector ; 
and having nothing to abate his esteem of himself, he 
consequently aspires to the esteem of others. Thus 
every man that crowds our streets is a man of ho 
nour, disdainful of obligation, impatient of reproach, 
and desirous of extending his reputation among those 
of his own rank ; and as courage is in most frequent 
use, the fame of courage is most eagerly pursued. 
From this neglect of subordination I do not deny that 
some inconveniences may from time to time pro 
ceed : the power of the law does not always sufficiently 
supply the want of reverence, or maintain the proper 
distinction between different ranks; but good and 
evil will grow up in this world together ; and they 
who complain, in peace, of the insolence of the po 
pulace, must remember, that their insolence in peace 
is bravery in war. 






SIR, Dec. 1, 1759. 

J.HE Plans which have been offered by different 
architects, of different reputation and abilities, for 
the Construction of the Bridge intended to be built 
at Blackfriars, are, by the rejection of the greater 
part, now reduced to a small number ; in which 
small number three are supposed to be much superior 
to the rest; so that only three architects are now 
properly competitors for the honour of this great em 
ployment ; by two of whom are proposed semicircular, 
and by the other elliptical arches. 

The question is, therefore, whether an elliptical or 
semicircular arch is to be preferred ? 

The first excellence of a bridge built for com 
merce over a large river, is strength ; for a bridge 
which cannot stand, however beautiful, will boast 
its beauty but a little while ; the stronger arch is 


therefore to be preferred, and much more to be 
preferred, if with greater strength it has greater 

Those who are acquainted with the mathematical 
principles of architecture, are not many; and yet 
fewer are they who will, upon any single occasion, 
endure any laborious stretch of thought, or harass 
their minds with unaccustomed investigations. We 
shall therefore attempt to shew the weakness of the ellip 
tical arch, by arguments which appeal simply to com 
mon reason, and which will yet stand the test of geo 
metrical examination. 

All arches have a certain degree of weakness. No 
hollow building can be equally strong with a solid mass, 
of which every upper part presses perpendicularly 
upon the lower. Any weight laid upon the top of an 
arch, has a tendency to force that top into the va 
cuity below ; and the arch thus loaded on the top, 
stands only because the stones that form it, being 
wider in the upper than in the lower parts, that part 
that fills a wider space cannot fall through a space 
less wide ; but the force which laid upon a flat would 
press directly downwards, is dispersed each way in a 
lateral direction, as the parts of a beam are pushed 
out to the right and left by a wedge driven between 
them. In proportion as the stones are wider at the 
top than at the bottom, they can less easily be forced 
downwards, and as their lateral surfaces tend more 
from the center to each side, to so much more is the 
pressure directed laterally towards the piers, and so 
much less perpendicularly towards the vacuity. 

Upon this plain principle the semicircular arch 
may be demonstrated to excel in strength the ellip- 


tical arch, which approaching nearer to a strait line, 
must be constructed with stones whose diminution 
downwards is very little, and of which the pressure is 
almost perpendicular. 

It has yet been sometimes asserted by hardy ignor 
ance, that the elliptical arch is stronger than the se 
micircular ; or in other terms, that any mass is more 
strongly supported the less it rests upon the supporters. 
If the elliptical arch be equally strong with the semi 
circular, that is, if an arch, by approaching to a strait 
line, loses none of its stability, it will follow, that all 
arcuation is useless, and that the bridge may at last, 
without any inconvenience, consist of stone laid in 
strait lines from pillar to pillar. But if a strait line 
will bear no weight, which is evident at the first view, 
it is plain likewise, that an ellipsis will bear very lit 
tle ; and that as the arch is more curved, its strength 
is increased. 

Having thus evinced the superior strength of the 
semicircular arch, we have sufficiently proved, that it 
ought to be preferred ; but to leave no objection un- 
pre vented, we think it proper likewise to observe, that 
the elliptical arch must always appear to want eleva 
tion and dignity; and that if beauty be to be deter 
mined by suffrages, the elliptical arch will have little 
to boast, since the only bridge of that kind has now 
stood two hundred years without imitation. 

If in opposition to these arguments, and in defiance 
at once of right reason and general authority, the el 
liptical arch should at last be chosen, what will the 
world believe, than that some other motive than rea 
son influenced the determination ? And some degree 
of partiality cannot but be suspected by him, who has 


been told that one of the judges appointed to decide 
this question, is Mr. M 11 r, who having-, by ignor 
ance or thoughtlessness, already preferred the ellipti 
cal arch, will probably think himself obliged to main 
tain his own judgment, though his opinion will avail 
but little with the public, when it is known that 
Mr. S ps n declares it to be false. 

He that in the list of the committee chosen for the 
superintendency of the bridge, reads many of the most 
illustrious names of this great city, will hope that the 
greater number will have more reverence for the opi 
nion of posterity, than to disgrace themselves, and the 
metropolis of the kingdom, in compliance with any 
man, who, instead of voting, aspires to dictate, per 
haps without any claim to such superiority, either by 
greatness of birth, dignity of employment, extent of 
knowledge, or largeness of fortune. 


SIR, Dec. 8, 1759. 

IN questions of general concern, there is no law 
of government, or rule of decency, that forbids 
open examination and public discussion. I shall 
therefore not betray, by a mean apology, that right 
which no man has power, and I suppose, no wise man 
has desire to refuse me; but shall consider the Letter 
published by you last Friday, in defence of Mr. M ' 
design for a new bridge. 

Mr. M proposes elliptical arches. It has 

been objected that elliptical arches are weak, and 


therefore improper for a bridge of commerce, in a 
country where greater weights are ordinarily carried 
by land than perhaps in any other part of the world. 
That there is an elliptical bridge at Florence is al 
lowed, but the objectors maintain, that its stability is 
so much doubted, that carts are not permitted to pass 
over it. 

To this no answer is made, but that it was built 
for coaches ; and if it had been built for carts, it 
would have been made stronger ; thus all the contro- 
vertists agree, that the bridge is too weak for carts ; 
and it is of little importance, whether carts are prohi 
bited because the bridge is weak, or whether the ar 
chitect, knowing that carts were prohibited, voluntari 
ly constructed a weak bridge. The instability of the el 
liptical arch has been sufficiently proved by argument, 
and Ammanuti's attempt has proved it by example. 

The iron rail, whether gilt or varnished, appears to 
me unworthy of debate. I suppose every judicious 
eye will discern it to be minute and trifling, equally 
unfit to make a part of a great design, whatever be its 
colour. I shall only observe how little the writer un 
derstands his own positions, when he recommends it to 
be cast in whole pieces from pier to pier. That iron 
forged is stronger than iron cast, every smith can in 
form him ; and if it be cast in large pieces, the frac 
ture of a single bar must be repaired by a new piece. 
The abrupt rise, which is feared from firm circular 
arches, may be easily prevented, by a little extension 
of the abutment at each end, which will take away the 
objection, and add almost nothing to the expence. 

The whole of the argument in favour of Mr. M , 

is only that there is an elliptical bridge at Florence, and 


an iron balustrade at Rome ; the bridge is owned to be 
weak, and the iron balustrade we consider as mean 5 
and are loth that our own country should unite two 
follies in a public work. 

The architrave of Perault, which has been pom 
pously produced, bears nothing but its entablature \ 
and is so far from owing its support to the artful sec 
tion of the stone, that it is held together by cramps of 
iron ; to which I am afraid Mr. M must have re 
course, if he persists in his ellipsis, or, to use the words 
of his vindicator, forms his arch of four segments of 
circles drawn from four different centers. 

That Mr. M obtained the prize of the archi 
tecture at ^Rome, a few months ago, is willingly con 
fessed \ nor do his opponents doubt that he obtained 
it by deserving it. May he continue to obtain what 
ever he deserves ; but let it not be presumed that a 
prize granted at Rome implies an irresistible degree of 
skill. The competition is only between boys, and the 
prize given to excite laudable industry, not to reward 
consummate excellence. Nor will the suffrage of the 
Romans much advance any name among those who 
know, what no man of science will deny, that archi 
tecture has for some time degenerated at Rome to the 
lowest state, and that the Pantheon is now deformed 
by petty decorations. 

I am, SIR, 

Yours, &c. 



SIR, Dec. 15, 1759. 

IT is the common fate of erroneous positions, that 
they are betrayed by defence, and obscured by expla 
nation ; that their authors deviate from the main 
question into incidental disquisitions, and raise a mist 
where they should let in light. 

Of all these concomitants of errors, the Letter of 
Dec. 10, in favour of elliptical arches, has afforded 
examples. A great part of it is spent upon digres 
sions. The writer allows, that the first excellence of a 
bridge is undoubtedly strength; but this concession af 
fords him an opportunity of telling" us, that strength, 
or provision against decay, has its limits ; and of men 
tioning the Monument and Cupola, without any ad 
vance towards evidence or argument. 

The first excellence of a bridge is now allowed to be 
strength; and it has been asserted, that a semi-ellipsis 
has less strength than a semicircle. To this he first 
answers, \h&t granting this position for a moment, the 
semi-ellipsis may yet have strength sufficient for the 
purposes of commerce. This grant, which was made 
but for a moment, needed not to have been made at 
all ; for, before he concludes his Letter, he undertakes 
to prove, that the elliptical arch must in all respects be 
superior in strength to the semicircle. For this daring- 
assertion he made way by the intermediate paragraphs ; 
in which he observes, that the convexity of a semi-ellipsis 
may be increased at will to any degree that strength may 
require; which is, that an elliptical arch may be made 
less elliptical, to be made less weak ; or that an arch, 


which by its elliptical form is superior in strength to 
the semicircle, may become almost as strong as a se 
micircle, by being made almost semicircular. 

That the longer diameter of an ellipsis may be 
shortened, till it shall differ little from a circle, is in 
disputably true ; but why should the writer forget the 
semicircle differs as little from such an ellipsis ? It 
seems that the difference, whether small or great, is to 
the advantage of the semicircle ; for he does not pro 
mise that the elliptical arch, with all the convexity that 
his imagination can confer, will stand without cramps 
of iron, and melted lead, and large stones, and a very 
thick arch ; assistances which the semicircle does not 
require, and which can be yet less required by a semi- 
ellipsis, which is in all respects superior in strength. 

Of a man who loves opposition so well, as to be 
thus at variance with himself, little doubt can be made 
of his contrariety to others ; nor do I think myself en 
titled to complain of disregard from one with whom 
the performances of antiquity have so little weight : 
yet in defiance of all this contemptuous superiority, I 
must again venture to declare, that a strait line will 
bear no weight ; being convinced, that not even the 
science of Vasari can make that form strong which the 
laws of nature have condemned to weakness. By the 
position, that a strait line will bear nothing, is meant 
that it receives no strength from straitness ; for that ma 
ny bodies, laid in strait lines, will support weight by the 
cohesion of their parts, every one has found, who has 
seen dishes on a shelf, or a thief upon the gallows. It 
is not denied, that stones may be so crushed together 
by enormous pressure on each side, that a heavy mass 
may safely be laid upon them ; but the strength mtist 




be derived merely from the lateral resistance ; and the 
line so loaded will be itself part of the load. 

The semi-elliptical arch has one recommendation 
yet unexamined ; we are told that it is difficult of 
execution. Why difficulty should be chosen for its 
own sake, I am not able to discover ; but it must not 
be forgotten, that as the convexity is increased, the 
difficulty is lessened ; and I know not well whether 
this writer, who appears equally ambitious of difficulty 
and studious of strength, will wish to increase the con 
vexity for the gain of strength, or to lessen it for the 
love of difficulty. 

The friend of Mr. M , however he may be 

mistaken in some of his opinions, does not want the 
appearance of reason, when he prefers facts to theo 
ries ; and that I may not dismiss the question with 
out some appeal to facts, I will borrow an example, 
suggested by a great artist, and recommended to those 
who may still doubt which of the two arches is the 
stronger, to press an egg first on the ends, and then 
upon the sides. 

I am, SIR, 

Yours, &c. 






AGRICULTURE, in the primeval ages, was the 
common parent of traffic ; for the opulence of man 
kind then consisted in cattle, and the product of til 
lage ; which are now very essential for the promo 
tion of trade in general, but more particularly so to 
such nations as are most abundant in cattle, corn, and 
fruits. The labour of the farmer gives employment 
to the manufacturer, and yields a support for the other 
parts of a community : it is now the spring which 
sets the whole grand machine of commerce in motion; 
and the sail could not be spread without the assist 
ance of the plougfe. But, though the farmers are 
of such utility in a state, we find them in general 
too much disregarded among the politer kind of peo 
ple in the present age ; while we cannot help observ 
ing the honour that antiquity has always paid to the 
profession of the husbandman : which naturally leads 
us into some reflections upon that occasion. 

Though mines of gold and silver should be ex 
hausted, and the species made of them lost ; though 

* From the Visitor, for February, 1756, p. 59. 


diamonds and pearls should remain concealed in the 
bowels of the earth, and the womb of the sea ; though 
commerce with strangers be prohibited; though all 
arts, which have no other object than splendor and 
embellishment, should be abolished? yet the fertility 
of the earth alone would afford an abundant supply 
for the occasions of an industrious people, by fur 
nishing subsistence for them; and such armies as should 
be mustered in their defence. We, therefore, oughfe 
not to be surprised, that Agriculture was in so much 
honour a'mong the ancients: for it ought rather to 
seem wonderful that it should ever cease to be so, and 
that the most necessary and most indispensable of all 
professions should have fallen into any contempt. 

Agriculture was in no part of the world in higher 
consideration than Egypt, Where it was the particular 
object of government and policy : nor was any country 
ever better peopled, richer,' or more powerful. The 
Satrapse, among the Assyrians and Persians, were re* 
warded* if the lands in their governments were well 
cultivated ; but were punished, if that part of their 
duty was neglected. Africa abounded in corn ; but 
the most famous countries were Thrace, Sardinia, and 

Cato, the censor, has justly called Sicily the maga 
zine and nursing mother of the Roman people, whtt 
were supplied from thence with almost all their corny 
both for the use of the city, and the subsistence of her 
armies : though we also find in Livy, that the Romans 
received no inconsiderable quantities of corn from- 
Sardinia. But, when Rome had made herself mistress 
of Carthage and Alexandria, Africa and Egypt became 
her store-houses; for those cities sent such numerous 



fleets every year, freighted with corn to Rome, that 
Alexandria alone annually supplied twenty millions 
of bushels : and, when the harvest happened to fail 
in one of these provinces, the other came in to its aid, 
and supported the metropolis of the world; which, 
without this supply, would have been in danger of 
perishing by famine. Rome actually saw herself re 
duced to this condition under Augustus; for there re 
mained only three days provision of corn in the city : 
and that prince was so full of tenderness for the peo 
ple, that he had resolved to poison himself, if the ex 
pected fleets did not arrive before the expiration of 
that time; but they came ; and the preservation of 
the Romans was attributed to the good fortune of 
their emperor : but wise precautions were taken to 
avoid the like danger for the future. 

When the seat of empire was transplanted to Con 
stantinople, that city was supplied in the same manner : 
and when the emperor Septimius Severus died, there 
was corn in the public magazines for seven years, 
expending daily 75,000 bushels in bread, for 600,000 

The ancients were no less industrious in the culti 
vation of the vine than in that of corn, though they 
applied themselves to it later : for Noah planted it by 
order, and discovered the use that might be made of 
the fruit, by pressing out aad preserving the juice. 
The vine was carried by the offspring of Noah into 
the several countries of the world : but Asia was the 
first to experience the sweets of this gift ; from whence 
it was imparted to Europe and Africa. Greece and 
Italy, which were distinguished in so many other re 
spects, were particularly so by the excellency of their 


wines. Greece was most celebrated for the wines of 
Cyprus, Lesbos, and Chio ; the former of which is in 
great esteem at present : though the cultivation of the 
vine has been generally suppressed in the Turkish do 
minions. As the Romans were indebted to the Gre 
cians for the arts and sciences, so were they likewise 
for the improvement of their wines ; the best of which 
were produced in the country of Capua, and were 
called the Massic, Calenian, Formian, Ceecuban, and 
Falernian, so much celebrated by Horace. Domitian 
passed an edict for destroying all the vines, and that 
no more should be planted throughout the greatest 
part of the west ; which continued almost two hun 
dred years afterwards, when the emperor Probus em 
ployed his soldiers in planting vines in Europe, in the 
same manner as Hannibal had formerly employed his 
troops in planting olive trees in Africa. Some of the 
ancients have endeavoured to prove, that the cultiva 
tion of vines is more beneficial than any other kind of 
husbandry : but, if this was thought so in the time of 
Columella, it is very different at present ; nor were 
all the ancients of his opinion, for several gave the 
preference to pasture lands. 

The breeding of cattle has always been considered 
as an important part of Agriculture. The riches of 
Abraham, Laban, and Job, consisted in their flocks 
and herds. We also find from Latinos in Virgil, and 
Ulysses in Homer, that the wealth of those princes 
consisted in cattle. It was likewise the ame among 
the Romans, till the introduction of money, which 
put a value upon commodities, and established a new 
kind of barter. Varro has not disdained to give an 
extensive account of all the beasts that are of any use 

co 2 


to the country, either for tillage, breed, carriage, or 
other conveniences of man. And Cato, the censor, 
was of opinion, that the feeding of cattle was the most 
certain and speedy method of enriching a country. 

Luxury, avarice, injustice, violence, and ambition, 
take up their ordinary residence in populous cities ; 
while the hard and laborious life of the husbandman 
will not admit of these vices. The honest farmer 
lives in a wise and happy state, which inclines him 
to justice, temperance, sobriety, sincerity, and every 
virtue that can dignify human nature. This gave 
room for the poets to feign, that Astrcea, the Goddess 
of Justice, had her last residence among husbandmen, 
before she quitted the earth. Hesiod and Virgil have 
brought the assistance of the Muses in praise of Agri 
culture. Kings, generals, and philosophers, have not 
thought it unworthy their birth, rank, and genius, to 
leave precepts to posterity upon the utility of the hus 
bandman's profession. Hiero, Attalus, and Archelaus, 
kings of Syracuse, Pergamus, and Cappadocia, have 
composed books for supporting and augmenting the 
fertility of their different countries. The Carthagi 
nian general, Mago, wrote twenty-eight volumes upon 
this subject ; and Cato, the censor, followed his ex 
ample. Nor have Plato, Xenophon, and Aristotle, 
omitted this article, which makes an essential part of 
their politics. And Cicero, speaking of the writings 
of Xenophon, says, " How fully and excellently does 
" he, in that book called his Oeconomics, set out the 
" advantages of husbandry, and a country life?" 

When Britain was subject to the Romans, sLe a >nu- 
ally supplied them with great < id 

thelsleof Anglesea was then looked upon a the y 


for the western provinces: but the Britons, both 
under the Romans and Saxons, were employed like 
slaves at the plough. On the intermixture of the 
Danes and Normans, possessions were better regulated, 
and the state of vassalage gradually declined, till it 
was entirely wore off under the reigns of Henry VII. 
and Edward VI. for they hurt the old nobility by fa 
vouring the commons, who grew rich by trade, and 
purchased estates. 

The wines of France, Portugal, and Spain, are now 
the best ; while Italy can only boast of the wine made 
in Tuscany. The breeding of cattle is now chiefly 
confined to Denmark and Ireland. The corn of Sicily 
is still in great esteem, as well as what is produced in 
the northern countries: but England is the happiest 
spot in the universe for all the principal kinds of 
Agriculture, and especially its great produce of corn. 

The improvement of our lauded estates, is the en 
richment of the kingdom : for, without this, how could 
we carry on our manufactures, or prosecute our com- 
merce ? We should look upon the English Fanner as 
the most useful member of society. His arable 
grounds not only supply his fellow-subjects with all 
kinds of the best grain, but his industry enables him 
to export great quantities to other kingdoms, which 
might otherwise starve ; particularly Spain and Por 
tugal : for, in one year, there have been exported 
51,520 quarters of barley, 219,781 of malt, 1,920 
of oatmeal, 1,329 of rye, and 153,343 of wheat; 
the bounty on which amounted to 72,433 pounds. 
What aumd of treasure arises from his pasture lands, 
which breed snch innumerable flocks of sheep, and 
afford such fine herds of cattle, to feed Britons, and 


clothe mankind ! He rears flax and hemp for the mak 
ing of linen ; while his plantations of apples and hops 
supply him with generous kinds of liquors. 

The land-tax, when at four shillings in the pound, 
produces 2,000,000 pounds a year. This arises from 
the labour of the husbandman : it is a great sum : but 
how greatly is it increased by the means it furnishes 
for trade? Without the industry of the Farmer, the 
manufacturer could have no goods to supply the mer 
chant, nor the merchant find any employment for the 
mariners : trade would be stagnated ; riches would 
be of no advantage to the great ; and labour of no 
service to the poor. 

The Romans, as historians all allow, 
Sought, in extreme distress, the rural plough ; 
lo triumphe ! for the village swain 
Retir'd to be a nobleman * again. 

* Cincinnatus. 





my last visit, I took the liberty of mentioning 
a subject, tfhich, I think, is not considered with at 
tention pr6portionate to its importance. Nothing 
can tii'6re fully prove th ingratitude of mankind, a 
crime often charged upon them, and often denied, 
than the little rfegard which the disposers of honorary 
rewards have paid to Agriculture ; which is treated 
as a subject so remote from common life, by all those 
who do not immediately hold the plough, or give 
fodder to the ox, that I think there is room to ques 
tion, whether" a great part of mankind has yet beeti 
informed that life is' sustained by the fruit* of thfc 
earth. I was once indeed provoked to 1 ask a lady of 
great eminence for genius, Wkefkefshe krttito6fwkal 
bread is mad*! ? 

I 'Ikve already observed, hbW differently Agriculture 
was considered by the heroes atfd \tfise rtiten of the 
Roman commonwealth, and shall now' only axW, that 
even after the emperors hatf made great alteration in 

the sysfeirt of life 1 , and taught men to portfottottt 


* From the Visitor, for March 1756, p. HI, 


esteem to other qualities than usefulness, Agriculture 
still maintained its reputation, and was taught by the 
polite and elegant Celsus among the other arts. 

The usefulness of Agriculture I have already shewn j 
I shall now, therefore, prove its necessity : and having 
before declared, that it produces the chief riches of a 
nation, I shall proceed to shew, that it gives its only 
riches, the only riches which we can call our own, and 
of which we need not fear either deprivation or dimi 

Of nations, as of individuals, the first blessing is inr 
dependence. Neither the man nor the people can be 
happy to whom any human power can deny the necesr 
saries or conveniences of life. There is no way of 
living without the need of foreign assistance, but by 
the product of our own land, improved by our own 
labour*. Every other source of plenty is perishable or 

Trade and manufactures must be confessed often 
to enrich countries ; and we ourselves are indebted 
fx> them for those ships by which we now command 
the sea, from the equator to the poles, and for those 
sums with which we have shewn ourselves able to arm 
$he nations of he north in defence of regions in the 
western hemisphere. But trade and manufactures, 
however profitable, must yield to the cultivation of 
lands in usefulness and dignity* 

Commerce, however we may please ourselves with 
the contrary opinion, is one of the daughters of for 
tune, inconstant and deceitful as her mother; she 
chooses her residence'where she is least expected, and 
shifts her abode, when her continuance is in appear- 


ance most firmly settled. Who can read of the pre 
sent distresses of the Genoese, whose only choice now 
remaining is, from what monarch they shall solicit 
protection ? Who can see the Hanseatic towns in 
ruins, where perhaps the inhabitants do not always equal 
the number of the houses; but he will say to himself, 
These are the cities, whose trade enabled them once 
to give kws to the world, to whose merchants princes 
sent their jewels in pawn, from whose treasuries armies 
were paid, and navies supplied ! And who can then 
forbear to consider trade as a weak and uncertain basis 
of power, and wish to his own country greatness more 
solid, and felicity more durable ? 

It is apparent, that every trading nation flourishes, 
while it can be said to flourish, by the courtesy of 
others. We cannot compel any people to buy from 
vis, or to sell to us. A thousand accidents may pre 
judice them in favour of our rivals ; the workmen of 
another nation may labour for less price, or some ac 
cidental improvement, or natural advantage, may pro 
cure a just preference to their commodities; as expe 
rience has shewn, that there is no work of the hands, 
which, at different times, is not best performed in dif 
ferent places. 

Traffic, even while it continues in its state of pro 
sperity, must owe its success to Agriculture ; the ma 
terials of manufacture are the produce of the earth. 
The wool which we weave into cloth, the wood 
which is formed into cabinets, the metals which are 
forged into weapons, are supplied by nature with the 
help of art. Manufactures, indeed, and profitable 
manufactures, are sometimes raised from imported 


materials, but then we are subjected a second time to 
the caprice of our neighbours. The natives of Lom- 
bardy might easily resolve to retain their silk at home, 
and employ workmen of their own to weave it. And 
this will certainly be done when they grow wise and 
industrious, when they have sagacity to discern their 
true interest, and vigour to pursue it. 

Mines are generally considered as the great sources 
of wealth, and superficial observers have thought the 
possession of great quantities of precious metals the 
first national happiness. But Europe has long seen, 
with wonder and contempt, the poverty of Spain, who 
thought herself exempted from the labour of tilling 
the ground, by the conquest of Peru, with its veins of 
silver. Time, however, has taught even this obstinate 
and haoghty nation, that without Agriculture, they 
may indeed be the transmitters of money, but can 
never be the possessors. They may dig it out of the 
earth, bat must immediately send it away to purchase 
cloth or bread, and it must at last remain with some 
people wise enough to sell much, and to buy little ; 
to live ttpdtf their own lands* without a wish for those 
things whaeh nature has denied them. 

Mines are themselves of no use, without some kind 
of Agriculture. We have, in our own country, inex- 
hsrastiiMe stores of iron, which lie useless in the ore fo* 
want of Wood. It was never the design of Providence 
to feed man without his own concurrence ; we have 
from nature only what we cannot provide for our 
selves ; she gives us wild fruits which art must me 
liorate, and drossy metals, whskk labour must re- 


Particular metals are valuable, because they are 
scarce ; and they are scarce, because the mines that 
yield them are emptied in time. But the surface 
of the earth is more liberal than its caverns. 
The field, which is this autumn laid naked by 
the sickle, will be covered, in the succeeding sum 
mer, by a new harvest ; the grass, which the cattle 
are devouring, shoots up again when they have passed 
over it. 

Agriculture, therefore, and Agriculture alone, can 
support us without the help of others, in certain 
plenty and genuine dignity. Whatever we buy 
from without, the sellers may refuse ; whatever we 
sell, manufactured by art, the purchasers may re 
ject; but, while our ground is covered with corn 
and cattle, we can want nothing ; and if ima 
gination should grow sick of native plenty, and call 
for delicacies or embellishments from other countries, 
there is nothing which corn and cattle will not pur 

Our country is, perhaps, beyond all others, produc 
tive of things necessary to life. The pine-apple 
thrives better between the tropics, and better furs 
are found in the northern regions. But let us not 
envy these unnecessary privileges. Mankind cannot 
subsist upon the indulgencies of nature, but must 
be supported by her more common gifts. They 
must feed upon bread, and be clothed with wool ; 
and the nation that can furnish these universal com 
modities, may have her ships welcomed at a thou 
sand ports, or sit at home and receive the tribute of 
foreign countries, enjoy their arts, or treasure up their 


It is well known to those who have examined the 
state of other countries, that the vineyards of France 
are more than equivalent to the mines of America ; 
and that one great use of Indian gold, and Peruvian 
silver, is to procure the wines of Champagne and Bur 
gundy. The advantage is indeed always rising on the 
side of France, who will certainly have wines, when 
Spain, by a thousand natural or accidental causes, may 
want silver. But surely the valleys of England have 
more certain stores of wealth. Wines are chosen by 
caprice ; the products of France have not always been 
equally esteemed ; but there never was any age, or 
people, that reckoned bread among superfluities, when 
once it was known. The price of wheat and barley 
suffers not any variation, but what is caused by the 
uncertainty of seasons. 

I am far from intending to persuade my country 
men to quit all other employments for that of ma 
nuring the ground. I mean only to prove, that we 
have, at home, all that we can want, and that there 
fore we need feel no great anxiety about the schemes 
/ of other nations for improving their arts, or ex 
tending their traffic. But there is no necessity to 
infer, that we should cease from commerce, before 
the revolution of things shall transfer it to some other 
regions! Such vicissitudes the world has often seen; 
and therefore such we have reason to expect. We 
hear many clamours of declining trade, which are 
not, in my opinion, always true; and many impu 
tations of that decline to governors and ministers, 
which may be sometimes just, and sometimes calum 
nious. But it is foolish to imagine, that any care or 
policy can keep commerce at a stand, which almost 


every nation has enjoyed and lost, and which we must 
expect to lose as we have long enjoyed it. 

There is some danger, lest our neglect of Agri 
culture should hasten its departure. Our industry has 
for many ages been employed in destroying the woods 
which our ancestors have planted. It is well known 
that commerce is carried on by ships, and that ships 
are built out of trees ; and therefore, when I travel 
over naked plains, to which tradition has preserved 
the name of forests, or see hills arising on either 
hand, barren and useless, I cannot forbear to wonder, 
how that commerce of which we promise ourselves 
the perpetuity, shall be continued by our descendants; 
nor can restrain a sigh when I think on the time, a 
time at no great distance, when our neighbours may 
deprive us of our naval influence, by refusing us their 

By Agriculture only can commerce be perpetuated ; 
and by Agriculture alone can we live in plenty with 
out intercourse with other nations. This, therefore, 
is the great art, which every government ought to 
protect, every proprietor of lands to practise, and 
every inquirer into nature to improve. 





&QN of Perseverance, whoever thou art, whose cu 
riosity has led thee hither, read and be wise. He 
that now calls upon thee is Theodore, the Hermit of 
Teneriffe, who in the fifty-seventh year of his re 
treat left this instruction to mankind, lest his solitary 
hours should be spent in vain. 

I was once what thou art now, a groveller on the 
earth, and a gazer at the sky ', I trafficked and heaped 
wealth together, I loved and was favoured, I wore the 
robe of honour and heard the music of adulation ; 
I was ambitious, and rose to greatness; I was un 
happy, and retired. I sought for some time what I 
at length found here, a place where all real wants 
might be easily supplied, and where I might not be 
Under the necessity of purchasing the assistance of men 
by the toleration of their follies. Here I saw fruits 
and herbs and water, and here determined to wait the 
hand of death, which I hope, when at last it comes, 
will fall lightly upon me. 

Forty-eight years had I now passed in forgetful- 
ness of all mortal cares, and without any inclination 


to wander farther than the necessity of procuring 
sustenance required ; but as I stood one day behold 
ing the rock that overhangs my cell, I found in 
(myself a desire to climb it j and when I was on its 
top, was in the same manner determined to scale the 
next, till by degrees I conceived a wish to view the 
summit of the mountain, at the foot of which I had 
so long resided. This motion of my thoughts I 
endeavoured to suppress, not because it appeared 
criminal, but because it was new; and all change, 
not evidently for the better, alarms a mind taught by 
experience to distrust itself. I was often afraid that 
my heart was deceiving me, that my impatience 
of confinement rose from some earthly passion, and 
that my ardour to survey the works of nature was 
only a hidden longing to mingle once again in the 
scenes of life. I therefore endeavoured to settle my 
thoughts into their former state, but found their dis 
traction every day greater. I was always reproaching 
myself with the want of happiness within my reach, 

[and at last began to question whether it was not lazi 
ness . rather" than caution that restrained me from 
climbing to the summit of Teneriffe. 

I rose therefore before the day, and began my 
journey up the steep of the mountain ; but I had not 
advanced far, old as I was and burthened with pro 
visions, when the day began to shine upon me ; the 
declivities grew more precipitous, and the sand slided 
from beneath my feet ; at last, fainting with labour, 
I arrived at a small plain almost enclosed by rocks, 
and open only to the east. I sat down to rest awhile, 
in full persuasion, that when I had recovered my 
strength I should proceed on my design ; but when 


once I had tasted ease, I found many reasons againsf 
disturbing it. The branches spread a shade over 
my head, and the gales of spring wafted odours to my 

As I sat thus, forming alternately excuses for delay, 
and resolutions to go forward, an irresistible heavi 
ness suddenly surprised me ; I laid my head upon the 
bank and resigned myself to sleep; when methoiigh% 
I heard the sound as of a flight of eagles, and a 
being of more than human dignity stood before me/ 
While I was deliberating how to address himy he took 
me by the hand with an air of kindness, and asked 
me solemnly, but without severity. " Theodore, whi- 
" ther art thou going?" "I am climbing/' answered 
I, " to the top of the mountain, to enjoy a more 
" extensive prospect of the works of nature." " At* 
" tend first/' said he, " to the prospect which this place 
" affords, and what thou dost not understand I will 
" explain. I am one of the benevolent beings who' 
" watch over the children of the dust, to preserve 
" them from those evils which will not ultimately 
"terminate in good, and which they do not, by 
" their own faults, bring upon themselves. Look 
" round therefore without fear : observe, contemplate, 
" and be instructed." 

Encouraged by this assurance, I looked and be 
held a mountain higher than Teneriffe, to the sum 
mit of which the human eye could never reach; 
when I had tired myself with gazing upon its height, 
I turned my eyes towards its foot, which I could 
easily discover, but was amazed to find it without 
foundation, and placed inconceivably in emptiness 
and darkness. Thus I stood terrified and confused ; 


above were tracks inscrutable, and below was total 
vacuity. But my protector, with a voice of admoni 
tion, cried out, Theodore, be not affrighted, but raise 
thy eyes again ; the Mountain of Existence is before 
thee, survey it and be wise. 

I then looked with more deliberate attention, and 
observed the bottom of the mountain to be a gentle 
rise, and overspread with flowers ; the middle to be 
more steep, embarrassed with crags, and interrupted 
by precipices, over which hung branches loaded with 
fruits, and among which were scattered palaces and 
bowers. The tracts which my eye could reach nearest 
the top were generally barren ; but there were among 
the clefts of the rocks a few hardy evergreens, which 
though they did not give much pleasure to the sight or 
smell, yet seemed to cheer the labour and facilitate 
the steps of those who were clambering among them. 

Then, beginning to examine more minutely the 
different parts, I observed at a great distance a multi 
tude of both sexes issuing into view from the bottom 
of the mountain. Their first actions I could not accu 
rately discern ; but, as they every moment approached 
nearer, I found that they amused themselves with 
gathering flowers under the superintendence of a mo 
dest virgin in a white robe, who seemed not over 
solicitous to confine them to any settled pace or cer 
tain track ; for she knew that the whole ground was 
smooth and solid, and that they could not easily be 
hurt or bewildered. When, as it often happened, 
they plucked a thistle for a flower, Innocence, so was 
she called, would smile at the mistake. Happy, said 
I, are they who are under so gentle a government, 

VOL. II. I> B 


and yet are safe. But I had no opportunity to dwell 
long" on the consideration of their felicity ; for I 
found that Innocence continued her attendance but a 
little way, and seemed to consider only the flowery 
bottom of the mountain as her proper province. 
Those whom she abandoned scarcely knew that they 
were left, before they perceived themselves in the 
hands of Education, a nymph more severe in her 
aspect and imperious in her commands, who con 
fined them to certain paths, in their opinion too 
narrow and too rough. These they were continually 
solicited to leave, by Appetite, whom Education 
could never fright away, though she sometimes awed 
her to such timidity, that the effects of her presence 
were scarcely perceptible. Some went back to the 
first part of the mountain, and seemed desirous of 
continuing busied in plucking flowers, but were no 
longer guarded by Innocence ; and such as Educa 
tion could not force back, proceeded up the moun 
tain by some miry road, in which they were seldom 
seen, and scarcely ever regarded. 

As Education led her troop up the mountain, 
nothing was more observable than that she was fre 
quently giving them cautions to beware of Habits ; 
and was calling out to one or another at every step, 
that a Habit was ensnaring them ; that they would 
be under the dominion of Habit before they perceived 
their danger : and that those whom Habit should 
once subdue, had little hope of regaining their li 

Of this caution, so frequently repeated, I was 
very solicitous to know the reason, when my pro- 


lector directed my regard to a troop of pygmies, 
which appeared to walk silently before those that 
were climbing the mountain, and each to smooth the 
way before her follower. I found that I had missed 
the notice of them before, both because they were so 
minute as not easily to be discerned, and because they 
grew every moment nearer in their colour to the 
objects with which they were surrounded. As the 
followers of Education did not appear to be sensible 
of the presence of these dangerous associates, or, 
ridiculing their diminutive size, did not think it 
possible that human beings should ever be brought 
into subjection by such feeble enemies, . they gene 
rally heard her precepts of vigilance with wonder : 
and, when they thought her eye withdrawn, treated 
them with contempt. Nor could I myself think her 
cautions so necessary as her frequent inculcations- 
seemed to suppose, till I observed that each of these 
petty beings held secretly a chain in her hand, With 
which she prepared to bind those whom she found 
Within her power. Yet these Habits under the eye 
of Education went quietly forward, and seemed very 
little to increase in bulk or strength; for though 
they were always willing to join with Appetite, yet 
when Education kept them apart from her, they 
would very punctually obey command,' and make 
the narrow roads in which they were confined easier 
and smoother. 

It was observable, that their stature was never at 
a stand, but continually growing or decreasing, yet 
not always in the same proportions : nor could I for 
bear to express my admiration, when I saw in how 

D D 2 


much less time they generally gained than lost bulk. 
Though they grew slowly in the road of Education, 
it might however be perceived that they grew ; but 
if they once deviated at the call of Appetite, their 
stature soon became gigantic ; and their strength was 
such, that Education pointed out to her tribe many 
that were led in chains by them, whom she could 
never more rescue from their slavery. She pointed 
them out, but with little effect ; for all her pupils 
appeared confident of their own superiority to the 
strongest Habit, and some seemed in secret to regret 
that they were hindered from following the triumph 
of Appetite. 

It was the peculiar artifice of Habit not to suffer 
her power to be felt at first. Those whom she led, 
she had the address of appearing only to attend, but 
was continually doubling her chains upon her compa 
nions ; which were so slender in themselves, and so 
silently fastened, that while the attention was engaged 
by other objects, they were not easily perceived. 
Each link grew tighter as it had been longer worn ; 
and when by continual additions they became so heavy 
as to be felt, they were very frequently too strong to 
be broken. 

When Education had proceeded in this manner to 
the part of the mountain where the declivity began 
to grow craggy, she resigned her charge to two powers 
of superior aspect. The meaner of them appeared 
capable of presiding in senates, or governing nations, 
and yet watched the steps of the other with the most 
anxious attention, and was visibly confounded and 
perplexed if ever she suffered her regard to be drawn 
away. The other seemed to approve her submission 


as pleasing, but with such a condescension as plainly 
shewed that she claimed it as due; and indeed so 
great was her dignity and sweetness, that he who 
would not reference, must not behold her. 

" Theodore," said my protector, " be fearless, 
" and be wise ; approach these powers, whose domi- 
" nion extends to all the remaining part of the Moun- 
" tain of Existence." I trembled, and ventured to 
address the inferior nymph, whose eyes, though pierc 
ing and awful, I was not able to sustain. " Bright 
" Power," said 1, " by whatever name it is lawful 
44 to address thee, tell me, thou who presidest here, 
44 on what condition thy protection will be granted?" 
" It will be granted," said she, " only to obedience. 
" I am Reason, of all subordinate beings the .noblest 
" and the greatest ; who, if thou wilt receive my laws, 
" will reward thee like the rest of my votaries, by 
" conducting thee to Religion." Charmed by her 
voice and aspect, I professed my readiness to follow 
her. She then presented me to her mistress, who 
looked upon me with tenderness. I bowed before 
her, and she smiled. 

When Education delivered up those for whose 
happiness she had been so long solicitous, she seemed 
to expect that they should express some gratitude for 
her care, or some regret at the loss of that protection 
which she had hitherto afforded them. But it was 
easy to discover, by the alacrity which broke out at 
her departure, that her presence had been long dis 
pleasing, and that she had been teaching those who 
felt in themselves no want of instruction. They all 
agreed in rejoicing that they should no longer l>e sub- 


ject to her caprices, or disturbed by her documents, 
but should be now under the direction only of Rea 
son, to whom they made no doubt of being- able to 
recommend themselves by a steady adherence to all 
her precepts. Reason counselled them, at their first 
entrance upon her province, to enlist themselves 
among- the votaries of Religion; and informed them, 
that if they trusted to her alone, they would find the 
same fate with her other admirers, whom she had not 
been able to secure ag-ainst Appetites and Passions, 
and who, having been seized by Habits in the regions 
of Desire, had been dragged away to the caverns of 
Despair. Her admonition was vain, the greater num 
ber declared against any other direction, and doubted 
not but by her superintendency they should climb 
with safety up the Mountain of Existence. " My 
" power/ 7 said Reason, " is to advise, not to compel; 
ff I have already told you the danger of your choice. 
*' The path seems now plain and even, but there are 
" asperities and pitfalls, over which Religion only 
" can conduct you. Look upwards, and you per- 
" eeive a mist before you settled upon the highest 
" visible part of the mountain; a mist by which 
" my prospect is terminated, and which is pierced 
" only by the eyes of Religion. Beyond it are the 
temples of Happiness, in which those who climb 
" the precipice by her direction, after the toil of 
" their pilgrimage, repose for ever. I know not 
" the way, and therefore can only conduct you to 
*' a better guide. Pride has sometimes reproached 
" me with the narrowness of my view, but, when 
" she endeavoured to extend it, could only shew me, 


" below the mist, the bowers of Content; even they 
"vanished as I fixed my eyes upon them; and those 
" whom she persuaded to travel towards them were 
" enchained by Habits, and ingulfed by Despair, a 
" cruel tyrant, whose caverns are beyond the dark- 
" ness on the right side and on the left, from whose 
" prisons none can escape, and whom I cannot teach 
" you to avoid.'* 

Such was the declaration of Reason to those who 
demanded her protection. Some that recollected the 
dictates of Education, finding them now second 
ed by another authority, submitted with reluctance 
to the strict decree, and engaged themselves among 
the followers of Religion, who were distinguished 
by the uniformity of their march, though many 
of them were women, and by their continual endea 
vours to move upwards, without appearing to regard 
the prospects which at every step courted their at 

All those who determined to follow either Reason 
or Religion, were continually importuned to for 
sake the road, sometimes by Passions, and some 
times by Appetites, of whom both had reason to 
boast the success of their artifices ; for so many were 
drawn into by-paths, that any way was more popu 
lous than the right. The attacks of the Appetites 
were more impetuous, those of the Passions longer 
continued. The Appetites turned their followers 
directly from the true way, but the Passions marched 
at first in a path nearly in the same direction with 
that of Reason and Religion ; but deviated by slow 
degrees, till at last they entirely changed their course. 


Appetite drew aside the dull, and Passion the sprightly. 
Of the Appetites, Lust was the strongest; and of the 
Passions, Vanity. The most powerful assault was to 
be feared, when a Passion and an Appetite joined 
their enticements; and the path of Reason was best 
followed, when a Passion called to one side, and an 
Appetite to the other. 

These seducers had the greatest success upon th 
followers of Reason, over whom they scarcely ever 
failed to prevail, except when they counteracted one 
another. They had not the same triumphs over 
the votaries of Religion ; for though they were often 
led aside for a time, Religion commonly recalled 
them b'y her emissary Conscience, before Habit had 
time to enchain them. But they that professed to 
obey Reason, if once they forsook her, seldom return 
ed ; for she had no messenger to summon them but 
Pride, who generally betrayed her confidence, and 
employed all her skill to support Passion ; and if ever 
she did her duty, was found unable to prevail, if 
Habit had interposed. 

I soon found that the great danger to the followers 
of Religion was only fixm Habit 5 every other power 
was easily resisted, nor did they find any difficulty 
when they inadvertently quitted her, to find her 
again by the direction of Conscience, unless they 
had given time to Habit to draw her chain be 
hind them, and bar up the way by which they had 
wandered. Of some of those, the condition was 
justly to be pitied, who turned at every call of 
Conscience, and tried, but without effect, to burst the 
chains of Habit ; saw Religion walking forward at a 


distance, saw her with reverence, and longed to join 
her; but were, whenever they approached her, with 
held by Habit, and languished in sordid bondage, 
which they could not escape, though they scorned and 
hated it. 

It was evident that the Habits were so far from 
growing weaker by these repeated contests, that if 
they were not totally overcome, every struggle en 
larged their bulk and increased their strength ; and a 
Habit opposed and victorious was more than twice as 
strong as before the contest. The manner in which 
those who were weary of their tyranny endeavoured to 
escape from them, appeared by the event to be gene 
rally wrong; they tried to loose their chains one by 
one, and to retreat by the same degrees as they ad 
vanced ; but before the deliverance was completed, 
Habit always threw new chains upon her fugitive ; nor 
did any escape her but those who, by an effort sudden 
and violent, burst their shackles at once, and left her 
at a distance; and even of these, many, rushing too 
precipitately forward, and hindered by their terrors 
from stopping where they were safe, were fatigued with 
their own vehemence, and resigned themselves again 
to that power from whom an escape must be so dearly 
bought, and whose tyranny was little felt, except when 
it was resisted. 

Some however there always were, who when they 
found Habit prevailing over them, called upon Rea 
son or Religion for assistance ; each of them wil 
lingly came to the succour of her suppliant, but 
neither with the same strength, nor the same sue- 


cess. Habit, insolent with her power, would often 
presume to parley with Reason, and offer to loose 
some of her chains if the rest might remain. To 
this Reason, who was never certain of victory, fre 
quently consented, but always found her concession 
destructive, and saw the captive led away by Habit 
to his former slavery. Religion never submitted to 
treaty, but held out her hand with certainty of con 
quest ; and if the captive to whom she gave it did 
not quit his hold, always led him away in triumph, 
and placed him in the direct path to the temple of 
Happiness, where Reason never failed to congratulate 
his deliverance, and encourage his adherence to that 
power to whose timely succour he was indebted 
for it. 

When the traveller was again placed in the road 
of Happiness, I saw Habit again gliding before 
him, but reduced to the stature of a dwarf, with 
out strength and without activity ; but when the 
Passions or Appetites, which had before seduced 
him, made their approach, Habit would on a sud 
den start into size, and with unexpected violence 
push him towards them. The wretch, thus impel 
led on one side, and allured on the other, too fre 
quently quitted the road of Happiness, to which, 
after his second deviation from it, he rarely return 
ed : but, by a timely call upon Religion, the force 
of Habit was eluded, her attacks grew fainter, and 
at last her correspondence with the enemy was en 
tirely destroyed. She then began to employ those 
restless faculties iji compliance with the power which 


she could not overcome ; and as she grew again in 
stature and in strength, cleared away the asperities of 
the road to Happiness. 

From this road I could not easily withdraw my 
attention, because all who travelled it appeared 
cheerful and satisfied ; and the farther they pro 
ceeded, the greater appeared their alacrity, and the 
stronger their conviction of the wisdom of their 
guide. Some, who had never deviated but by 
short excursions, had Habit in the middle of their 
passage vigorously supporting them, and driving 
off the Appetites and Passions which attempted to 
interrupt their progress. Others, who had entered 
this road late, or had long forsaken it, were toil 
ing on without her help at least, and commonly 
against her endeavours. But I observed, when 
they approached to the barren top, that few were 
able to proceed without some support from Habit : 
and that they, whose Habits were strong, advanced 
towards the mists with little emotion, and entered 
them at last with calmness and confidence ; after 
which, they were seen only by the eye of Religion ; 
and though Reason looked after them with the 
most earnest curiosity* she could only obtain a faint 
gliihpse, when her mistress, to enlarge her prospect, 
raised her from the ground. Reason, however, dis 
cerned that they were safe, but Religion saw that 
they were happy. 

" Now, Theodore," said my protector, " withdraw 
" thy view from the regions of obscurity, and see 
" the fate of those who, when they were dismissed 
" by Education, would admit no direction but 


" that of Reason* Survey their wanderings, and be 

n * i > 
" wise. 

I looked then upon the Road of Reason, which 
was indeed, so far as it reached, the same with that 
of Religion, nor had Reason discovered it but by 
her instruction. Yet when she had once been 
taught it, she clearly saw that it was right ; and 
Pride had sometimes incited her to declare that 
she discovered it herself, and persuaded her to offer 
herself as a guide to Religion : whom after many 
vain experiments she found it her highest privilege 
to follow. Reason was howeveY at last well in 
structed in part of the way, and appeared to teach 
it with some success, when her precepts were not 
misrepresented by Passion, or her influence over- 
borne by Appetite. But neither of these enemies 
was she able to resist. When Passion seized upon 
her votaries, she seldom attempted opposition : she 
seemed indeed to contend with more vigour against 
Appetite, but was generally overwearied in the 
contest; and if either of her opponents had con 
federated with Habit, her authority was wholly at 
an end. When Habit endeavoured to captivate 
the votaries of Religion, she grew by slow degrees, 
and gave time to escape j but in seizing the un 
happy followers of Reason, she proceeded as one 
that had nothing to fear, and enlarged her size, and 
doubled her chains, without intermission, and without 

Of those who forsook the directions of Reason, 
some were led aside by the whispers of Ambition, 
who was perpetually pointing to stately palaces, 


situated on eminences on either side, recounting" the 
delights of affluence, and boasting the security of 
power. They were easily persuaded to follow her, 
and Habit quickly threw her chains upon them ; 
they were soon convinced of the folly of their 
choice, but few of them attempted to return. 
Ambition led them forward from precipice to pre 
cipice, where many fell and were seen no more. 
Those that escaped were, after a long series of ha 
zards, generally delivered over to Avarice, and en 
listed by her in the service of Tyranny, where they 
continued to heap up gold till their patrons or their 
heirs pushed them headlong at last into the caverns of 

Others were enticed by Intemperance to ramble 
in search of those fruits that hung over the rocks, 
and filled the air with their fragrance. I observed, 
that the Habits which hovered about these soon grew 
to an enormous size, nor were there any who less 
attempted to return to Reason, or sooner sunk into 
the gulfs that lay before them. When these first 
quitted the road, Reason looked after them with a 
frown of contempt, but had little expectations of being 
able to reclaim them; for the bowl of intoxication 
was of such qualities as to make them lose all regard 
but for the present moment : neither Hope nor Fear 
could enter their retreats; and Habit had so absolute 
a power, that even Conscience, if Religion had em 
ployed her in their favour, would not have been able 
to force an entrance. 

There were others whose crime it was rather to 
neglect Reason than to disobey her: and who re- 


treated from the heat and tumult of the way, not ttf 
the bowers of Intemperance, but to the maze of In 
dolence. They had this peculiarity in their condition, 
that they were always in sight of the road of Reason, 
always wishing for her presence, and always resolving 
to return to-morrow. In these was most eminently 
conspicuous the subtlety of Habit, who hung imper 
ceptible shackles upon them, and was every moment 
leading them farther from the road, which they al 
ways imagined that they had the power of reaching. 
They wandered on from one double of the labyrinth 
to another with the chains of Habit hanging secretly 
upon them, till, as they advanced, the flowers grew 
paler, and the scents fainter ; they proceeded in their 
dreary march without pleasure in their progress, yet 
without power to return ; and had this aggravation 
above all others, that they were criminal but not 
delighted. The drunkard for a time laughed over his 
wine ; the ambitious man triumphed in the miscar 
riage of his rival ; but the captives of Indolence had 
neither superiority nor merriment. Discontent low 
ered in their looks, and Sadness hovered round their 
shades; yet they crawled on reluctant and gloomy, 
till they arrived at the depth of the recess varied only 
with poppies and nightshade, where the dominion of 
Indolence terminates, and the hopeless wanderer is 
delivered up to Melancholy; the chains of Habit are 
rivetted for ever; and Melancholy, having tortured 
her prisoner for a time, consigns him at last to the 
cruelty of Despair. 

While I was musing on this miserable scene, my 
protector called out to me, " Remember, Theodore, 


" and be wise, and let not Habit prevail against 
" thee." I started, and beheld myself surrounded by 
the rocks of Teneriffe; the birds of light were sing 
ing in the trees, and the glances of the morning darted 
upon me. 

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we were walking in the temple of Saturn, and 
observing several of the presents dedicated to that god, 
we were particularly struck with a picture hung np 
before one of the chapels. Both the manner and the 
subject of it seemed to be foreign \ so that we wd*e 
at a loss to know either whence, or what it was. 
What it represented was neither a city nor a camp ; 
but an enclosure, containing two other enclosures, the 
one larger and the other less. To the outer enclosure 
there was a portal, with a great number of persons 
standing before it, and several females within ; and 
an aged man standing by the portal, in the attitude 
of giving directions to those who were going in. 

After we had been debating among ourselves for 
some time, what all these things should mean, an el 
derly person, who happened to be by, addressed him 
self to us in the following manner. 

Old Citizen. As you f are strangers, 'tis no wonder 
that you should be at a loss to find out the meaning 


of this picture ; since several of the natives of this 
city themselves know not the true intent of it : and 
indeed it was not placed here by any of our citizens, 
but by a stranger who visited these parts several years 
ago. He was a very sensible man, and a great philo 
sopher ; and, both in his conversation and practice, 
seemed to approach nearer to the doctrines of Pytha 
goras and Parmenides, than to any other of our sects. 
It was he who built this temple, and dedicated this 
picture in it to Saturn. 

Stranger. Have you then seen the very person who 
gave it ? and was you acquainted with him ? 

O. C. Yes, I was both well acquainted with him, 
and admired him very much ; for though he was ra 
ther young, his conversation was full of wisdom ; and, 
among other things, I have often heard him explain 
ing the subject of the picture before us. 
,*>S. I intreat you, if it will not be too troublesome, 
to acquaint us with his explanation of it, for it is 
what we were all longing to know. 

O. C. That will be rather a pleasure than any 
trouble to me ; but I ought to forewarn you of one 
thing before I begin, which is this, that the hearing 
it is attended with some danger. 

S. What danger can there be in that ? 

O. C. It is no less than this, that if you observe 
and follow the lesson that it gives you, it will make 
you wise and happy ; but if you neglect it, you will 
be most ^miserable and wretched all your days. So 
that the explaining of this, is not unlike the riddle 
said to have been proposed to people by the sphynx, 
which if the hearer understood, he was saved ; but if 



not, he was to be destroyed. It is much the same 
iii the present case ; for ignorance is full as dangerous 
in life, as the sphynx was supposed to be in the fable. 
Now the picture before us includes all the doctrine of 
what is good in life, what is bad and what indifferent ; 
so that if you should take it wrong, you will be de 
stroyed by it ; not indeed all at once, as the people 
were by that monster ; but by little and little, through 
all the residue of your life, as those are who are given 
up to be put to death by slow tortures. On the con 
trary, if you understand it aright, then will your ig 
norance be destroyed, and you will be saved, and be 
come happy and blest for all the rest of your days. Do 
you, therefore, attend carefully to what I shall say to 
you, and observe it as you ought. 

S. O heavens, how have you increased our long 
ing to hear, what may be of such very great import 
ance to us ! 

O. C. It is certainly of the greatest that can be. 

S. Explain it then to us immediately, we beseech 
you ; and be assured, that we will listen to you with 
all the care and attention, that a matter which con 
cerns us so greatly must demand. 

O. C. You see this grand enclosure. All this cir 
cuit, is the CIRCUIT OF HUMAN LIFE, and that great 
number of people standing before the portal, are those 
who are to enter into life. This aged person, who 
stands by the entrance holding a paper in one of his 
hands, ^nd pointing with the other, is the GENIUS 
who directs all that are going in, what they should 
do after they are entered into life ; and shews them 
which way they ought to take in order to be happy 
in it. 


S. And which is the way that he shews them ? 
^rhere is it ? 

O. C. Do you see that seat on the other side, be 
fore the portal ; and the woman sitting on it, with a 
cup in her hand ? She who is so finely dressed out, 
and makes so plausible an appearance. 

8. I see her ; and pray who is she ? 

O. C. She is DECEIT, the misleader of man. 

S. And whai does she do there ? 

O. C. As they are entering- into life, she offers 
t'hem to drink of her cup. 

S. And what does her cup contain ? 

O. C. Ignorance and error ; of which when they 
have drunk, they enter into life. 

S. And do all drink of this cup ? 

O. C. All drink of it ; but some more, and some 
Jess.. A little farther, within the porfal, don't you 
see a company of loose women, with a great deal of 
variety both in their dress and airs ? 

S. I see theift. 

O. C. Those are the OPINIONS, DESIRES, and 
PLEASURES ; who, as the multitude enter, fly to them ; 
embrace each of them, with great earnestness ; and 
then lead them away with them. 

S. And whither do they lead them ? 

O. C. Soine to the way of safety ;' and others, to 
perdition through their folly. 

S. Ah, why did they drink of that liquor before 
they came in? 

O. C. All of them alike tell those whom they 
are embracing, that they will lead them to \that is 
best, and will make their lives quite happy : whilst 
the new comers, blinded by the large draughts they 

E 2 


have taken from the cup of DECEIT, are incapable 
of distinguishing which is the true way in life ; and 
wander about inconsiderately, here and there, as you 
see they do. You may observe too, that they who 
have been in some time, go about just as these direct 

S. They do so. But, pray, who is that woman 
who seems to be both blind and mad, and who stands 
on that round stone there ? 

O. C. That is FORTUNE ; and she is really not 
only mad and blind, but deaf too. 

j$. What then can her business be ? 

O. C. She flies about every where, and snatches 
what he has from one, to give it to another ; and then 
takes it away again from [him, to give it to a third ; 
without any manner of meaning, or any degree of 
certainty : which latter is very aptly signified by her 
figure here. 

S. How so ? 

O. C. By her standing on that round stone, which 
shews that there is no stability or security in her fa 
vours; as all who trust to her find, by some great and 
unexpected fall. 

S. And what does all that company about her 
want of her ? and how are they called ? 

O. C. They are called, The INCONSIDERATES, and 
are begging for some of those things which she flings 
about her. 

S. And why do they appear with such a diversity 
of passions ? some of them as overjoyed, and others 
as very much distrest ? 

O. C. They who smile and rejoice, are such as 
have received something from her hands; and these 


call her by the title of GOOD FORTUNE : and such as 
weep and mourn, are they from whom she has re 
sumed what she had before given them ; and these 
call her BAD FORTUNE. 

8. And what is it she gives, that should make the 
former rejoice so much on the receiving it, and the 
latter lament so much at the loss of it ? 

O. C. All those things which the greater part of 
mankind think good, such as wealth, and glory, and 
nobility, and offspring, and dignities, and crowns; 
and all such sort of things. 

S. And are not these really good things? 

O. C. As to that we may talk more at large ano 
ther time; but at present, if you please, let us stick 
to our picture. You see then, after entering this 
portal, there is another enclosure, on a raised ground, 
and several women standing before it, dress'd out too, 
much like ladies of pleasure. 

8. They are so. 

O. C. Of these, this is INTEMPERANCE ; that LUX 
URY ; this is AVARICE ; and that other FLATTERY. 

S. And what do they stand there for ? 

O. C. They are waiting for those who have re 
ceived any thing from FORTUNE; and as they meet 
with them, they embrace them with the greatest 
fondness, attach themselves to them, do every thing 
they can to please them, and beg them to stay with 
them ; promise them to render their whole lives de 
lightful, easy, and free from all manner of care or 
trouble. Now whoever is carrried away by them to 
VOLUPTUOUSNESS, will find their company agreeable 
to him at first, whilst they are fondling and tickling 


his passions ; but it is soon quite otherwise ; for when 
he recovers his senses, he perceives that he did not 
enjoy them, but was enjoyed by them ; and that they 
prey upon him, and destroy him. And when he has, 
by their means, consumed all that he had received 
from FORTUNE, then is he obliged to become their 
slave, to bear all the insults they are pleased to impose 
upon him, to yield to all the most scandalous prac 
tices, and in the end to commit all sorts of villanies 
for jtheir sake; such as betraying, defrauding, robbing, 
sacrilege, perjury, and the like ; and when all these 
fail him, then is he given up to PUNISHMENT. 
S. And where is she ? 

Q. C. Don't you see there, a little behind those 
women, a narrow dark cavern, with a small sort of 
door to it, and some miserable women that appear 
within, clad only in filth and rags? 
S. I see them. 

O. C. She who holds up the scourge in her hand, 
is PUNISHMENT; this, with her head sunk almost 
down to her knees, is SORROW ; and that other, tear-r 
ing her hair, is ANGUISH OF MIND. 

S. And pray, who is that meagre figure of a man 
without any clothes on, just by them ? and that lean 
woman, that resembles him so much in her make and 
face ? 

O. C. Those are REPINING, and his sister DE 
SPAIR. To all these is the wretch I was speaking of 
delivered up, and lives with them in torments, till 
finally he is cast into the house of MISERY ; where he 
passes the remainder of his days in all kinds of wretch 
edness; unless, by chance, REPENTANCE should fall 
in his way. 


S. What happens then? 

O. C. If REPENTANCE should chance to meet 
with him, she will take him out of the evil situation 
he was in, and will place a different OPINION and 
DESIRE before him : one, of those which lead to TRUE 
SCIENCE; and the other, of those which lead to 
SCIENCE falsely so called. 

S. And what then ? 

O. C. If he embraces that which leads to TRUE 
SCIENCE, he is renewed and saved, and becomes a 
happy man for all his days ; but if the other, he is 
bewildered again by FALSE SCIENCE. 

S. Good Heaven ! what a new danger do you tell 
me of! And pray, which is FALSE SCIENCE ? 

O. C. Do you see that second enclosure ? 

S. Very plainly. 

O. C. And don't you see a woman standing with 
out the enclosure, just by the entrance into it, of a 
very striking appearance, and very well dressed? 

S. As plainly. 

O. C. That is she whom the multitude, and all 
the unthinking part of mankind, call by the name of 
Science ; though she is really FALSE SCIENCE. Now 
those who are saved out of the house of misery call in 
here, in their passage to TRUE SCIENCE. 

& Is there then no other way to TRUE SCIENCE 
but this? 

O. C. Yes, there is. 

S. And pray, who are those men that are walking 
to and fro within the enclosure ? 

O. C. Those who have attached themselves to 
False Science, mistaking her for the True. 

& And what are they ? 


O. C. Some of them are poets, some rhetoricians, 
some logicians, some students in music, arithmetic, 
and geometry; pleasurists, peripatetics, critics, and 
several others of the same rank. 

S. And who are those women who seem so busy 
among them, and are so like INTEMPERANCE, and 
her companions, in the first enclosure ? 

O. C. They are the very same. 

S. Are they then admitted into this second en 
closure ? 

O. C. Yes, indeed; but not so readily, or fre 
quently, as in the first. 

And are the OPINIONS too admitted ? 

O. C. Undoubtedly ; for the persons who belong 
to this enclosure, have not yet got rid of the draught 
which they took out of the cup of Deceit. 

S. What then, IGNORANCE remains still with 

O. C. That it does, and FOLLY too; nor can they 
get rid of the OPINIONS, nor all the rest of this vile 
train, till they quit False Science, and get into the 
way of the True; till they drink of her purifying 
liquor, and wash away all the dregs of the evils that 
remain in them ; which that, and that only, is capa 
ble of doing. Such therefore as fix their abode with 
False Science will never be delivered; nor can all 
their studies clear them from any one of those 

S. Which then is the way to True Science ? 
O. C. Do you see that place on high there, that 
looks as if it were uninhabited ? 

I do. 

O. C. And do you discern a little opening be- 


tween the rocks, and a small track leading to it, which 
is scarce beaten ; and with very few people walking 
in it, as it is all rough, and stony, and difficult? 

S. I discern it very plainly. 

O. C. And don't you see a high cliff on the hill, 
almost inaccessible, and with several precipices about 

S. I see it. 

O. C. That is the way which leads to TRUE 

S. It is frightful only to look upon it. 

O. C. And up above that cliff, don't you see a 
large rising rock, all surrounded with precipices? 

S. I see it. 

O. C. Then you see also the two women that 
stand upon it, with so much firmness and beauty 
in their make, and how earnestly they extend their 

S. I do so; and pray who are they? 

O. C. Those two are sisters, and are called TEM 

S. And why do they extend their hands so ear 
nestly ? 

O. C. They are encouraging those who are arrived 
to that rock, and calling out to them to be of good 
heart, and not to despond, because they have but a 
little more to suffer, and then will find the road all 
easy and pleasant before them. 

8. But how can they ever get up upon that rock 
itself? for I don't see any the least path to ascend it 


O. C. The two sisters descend to meet them, and 


help them up. Then they order them to rest a little, 
inspire them with new strength and resolution, and 
promise to conduct them to TRUE SCIENCE : point 
out the way to them, make them observe how even, 
and easy, and charming it is; and how free from all 
manner of difficulty or danger, as you see it repre-r 
sented here. 

S. How well does it answer the description ! 

0, C. You see before that grove, the ground that 
extends itself into a beautiful meadow, with such a 
lively light over it. 

S. Very plainly. 

O. C. Then you see the third enclosure, in the 
midst of that meadow, and the portal to it. 

S. I do so; and pray, what do you call this 

O. C. The habitation of the blest; for here it is 
that HAPPINESS, and all the VIRTUES dwell. 

S. What a charming place have they to dwell in ! 

O. C. And do you observe the lady near the portal, 
with so beautiful and steady a look : of a middle age, 
or rather a little past it, and dressed in a plain long 
robe, without any the least affectation of ornaments ? 
She is standing there, not on a round stone, but a 
square one, firmly fixed in the ground ; and by her 
are two other vfomen, who look as if they were her 

S. They do so. 

O. C. Of these, she in the midst is SCIENCE, and 
the other two are TRUTH and PERSUASION. 

S. And why does SCIENCE stand on that square 


O. C. To signify, that her ways are ways of cer 
tainty, and that the presents which she gives to those 
that arrive to her, are firm and lasting. 

S. And what is that she gives to them ? 

O. C. Strength and tranquillity of mind, arising 
from a full assurance, that they shall never undergo 
any evil again in their whole lives. 

S. O heavens, how desirable are her presents ! But 
why does she stand thus without the enclosure? 

O. C. To receive those that arrive thither, an<} 
give them to drink of her purifying liquor, and to 
conduct them into the presence of the VIRTUES with 
in, when they are thoroughly cleansed by it. 

S. I don't rightly understand what you mean by 
this cleansing. 

O. C. I will make that clearer to you. Suppose 
any friend of yours was afflicted with some dangerous 
fit of illness ; if he goes to some knowing physician, 
and takes what he prescribes, in order to root out the 
causes of his disease, he may be restored to a perfect 
state of health ; but if he refuses to take what is or 
dered him, his physician will give him up, and leave 
him to be destroyed by his distemper. 

S. That is clear enough. 

O. C. In the very same manner, when any one 
comes to SCIENCE, she takes him under her care, and 
gives him a draught of her cup to cleanse him, and 
drive out all the noxious things that are in him. 

S. And what are those noxious things? 

O. C. The error and ignorance that he drank out 
of the cup of DECEIT ; and his arrogance, and lust, 
and intemperance, and anger, and covetousness ; in 


short, all the evil impressions and habits that he had 
contracted in his passage through the first enclosure. 

S. And when she has cleansed him from all these, 
whither does she send him ? 

O. C. In through that portal to KNOWLEDGE and 
the other VIRTUES. 

S. And where are they ? 

O. C. Don't you see, within the portal, a select 
company of ladies, of singular beauty and decency, 
both in their look and dress ; and in a word, with 
every thing handsome, and nothing affected about 

S. I see them, and should be glad to know their 

O. C. That at the head of them is KNOWLEDGE, 
and the rest are all her sisters, FORTITUDE, JUSTICE, 

& What beauties they are ! and what a longing 
desire do they inspire one with to enjoy their com- 
panics ! 

O. C. That you may do, if you are wise enough 
to follow the way that I have shewn you. 

S. That will I strive to do as far as I am able. 

O. C. Then you will arrive safely to them. 

S. And when these have received any one, whi 
ther do they carry him? 

O. C. To their mother. 

S. And who is she ? 


S. And where? 

O-. C. Do you see the way which leads to th^it high 


edifice, which appears above all the enclosures, as a 
citadel does above all the buildings in a city ? 

S. Yes. 

O. C. And do you see that composed, beautiful 
lady, sitting- on a throne in the portico to it, with so 
easy and disengaged an air, and with that beautiful 
chaplet of fresh flowers on her head ? 

S. How beautiful does she look ! 

O. C. She is HAPPINESS. 

S. And when any one arrives to her, what does 
*he do to him ? 

O. C. HAPPINESS, assisted by all the Virtues, 
crowns him with her own influences; in the same 
manner as they are crowned, who have obtained the 
greatest conquests. 

S. But what conquests has he obtained ? 

O. C. The greatest conquests, and over the most 
terrible of monsters, which formerly devoured, and 
tormented, and enslaved him. All these has he con 
quered, and driven from him; and is become so 
much master both of himself and them, as to make 
those things obey him, which he himself obeyed 

S. I don't yet comprehend what monsters you 
mean ; and should be very glad to know. 

O. C. In the first place, his ignorance and error ; 
will you not allow them to be monsters? 

S. Yes, and very dangerous ones too. 

O. 6. Then, his sorrows, and repinings, and co- 
vetings, and intemperance, and every thing that is 
bad. All these has he subdued, and is not subdued by 
them as he used to be. 


S. O glorious exploits! and most noble of all 
victories ! But be so good as to inform me yet farther, 
what may be the influence of the crown, with which 
you are saying he was to be crowned ? 

O. C. It is that which renders him happy : for he 
who has it once on his head, immediately becomes 
easy and blest; and does not place his hopes of hap 
piness in any thing without him, but possesses it in 
fos own breast. 

S. How desirable is such an acquisition ! And 
after he is crowned, what does he do ? or whither 
does he go? 

O. C. The VIRTUES take him, and lead him to 
the place that he had left, and bid him observe those 
who continue there, amidst what difficulties and trou 
bles they pass their time; and how they are ship 
wrecked in life, or wander about it; or are con 
quered, and led along like captives, some by INTEM 
PERANCE, and others by ARROGANCE ; here by CO- 
VETO USNESS, and there by VAIN-GLORY, or any other 
of the VICES : whose chains they are in vain 5 striving 
to get loose from, that they might escape, and get to 
this place of rest: so that their whole life seems to 
be nothing but one ineffectual struggle. And all this 
they suffer from their mistaking the right Way, and 
forgetting the orders given them by the directing 

S. That appears to me to 'be the case ; but I 
don't so clearly see, why the VIRTUES lead the person 
that has been crowned, back to the place that he had 

O. C. Because he had never formed a full and 


exact idea of the things that passed there, but at 
best had only guessed and doubted about them : for, 
from the draught of ignorance and error that he had 
taken at his entrance, he had imagined things that 
were bad to be good, and things that were good te 
be bad \ by which means he had lived wretchedly, as 
indeed all do while they are there. But now that he 
has obtained the knowledge of what is really good, he 
can both live happily himself, and can see how very 
tmhappy the others are. 

S. And when he has taken a fall view there, what 
does he do, or whither does he go ? 

O. C. Wherever he pleases, for every where is he 
as safe as one that is got into the Corycian cave ; so 
that wheresoever he goes, he lives in full security and 
undisturbed happiness ; and is received by all others 
with as much pleasure as a good physician is by his 

S. And has he no longer any dread of those females 
which yxm called monsters ? nor any apprehension of 
being hurt by them ? 

O. C. Not in the least; for he will never any more 
be molested either by ANGUISH, or SORROW, or IN- 
other evil : for he is now master of them all, and su 
perior to every thing that formerly gave him any trou 
ble. As they who practise the catching of vipers, are 
never hurt by the bite of those creatures, which is so 
veneinotis and even mortal to others, because they 
have an antidote against their poison ; so he is safe 
from any influence of all t&ese evils, because he has 
the antidote against them* 



S. That you have explained to me very well ; 
but I beg you would tell me yet farther, who they are 
that are descending from the middle of the rock, 
some of them crowned, and with an air of joy on their 
countenances; and others without crowns, that seem 
to have been rejected, and have the marks of seve 
ral falls about them, and are followed by certain 

O. C. They who are crowned, are such as got 
safe to SCIENCE, and are delighted with the reception 
that she has given them ; and those without crowns, 
who seem to have been rejected by her, and are re 
turned in so bad a condition, are such as found their 
hearts fail them, when they came to the precipice 
where PATIENCE stands ; and turned back from that 
point, and are now wandering irregularly they know 
not whither. 

S. And who are the women that are following 

O. C. They are SORROW and ANGUISH, and 

S. By your account, they are attended by every 
thing that is bad ! . " 

O. C. Undoubtedly they are, but when they are 
got down into the first enclosure, to VOLUPTUOUS 
NESS and INTEMPERANCE, they don't lay the blame 
on themselves, but immediately say all the ill things 
they can of SCIENCE, and of those who are going to 
her; and tell how miserable and wretched those poor 
people are, and how much they suffer, who leave the 
life they might have enjoyed below, and the good 
things bestowed there. 


S. And what are the good things which they 
mean ? 

O. C. Luxury and Intemperance, to say all in two 
words; for to indulge their passions like brute beasts, 
is what they look upon as the completion of all their 

S. And those other women that are coming down 
there, who look so gay and so well pleased with them 
selves, what are they ? 

O. C. The OPINIONS, who, after conducting those 
to SCIENCE, who have gained admission to the Vim* 
TUBS, are returning to bring up others, and to acquaint 
them how happy those are, whom they have already 
conducted up thither. 

S. And have they been admitted to the VIRTUE* 
themselves ? 

O. C. By no means; for 'tis not allowable for 
OPINION to enter, where KNOWLEDGE has her dwell 
ing. Their business, therefore, was only to conduct 
them to SciEuctt ; and u lu .11 she has received them, 
they turn back again to bring others ; like transport- 
ships, which as soon as they have delivered one freight, 
return for another. 

S. You have now, I think, very well explained 
all the figures in the picture ; but you have not yet 
told as what directions they were, which the Genius 
at the first portal gives to those that are catering 
into life. 

O. C. He bids them be of good courage. Where 
fore be you also of gtxxl courage; for I will fell 
you the wfeole, and leave no one thing 
to yeu. 



S. We shall be extremely obliged to you. 

O. C. You see that blind woman there on the 
rewind stone, who I told you before was FORTUNE. 

S. I see her. 

O. C. As to that woman, he orders them not to 
place any confidence in her, nor to look on any of 
her gifts as firm or secure, nor to consider them as 
their property ; for there is no hindering her from 
resuming them, and giving them to any body else; 
and 'tis what she is extremely apt to do. He there 
fore orders them to regard all her presents with in 
difference, and not to rejoice if she makes them any, 
nor to be dejected if she takes them away, and to 
think neither well nor ill of her ; for whatever she does 
is done without thought, and all by mere chance and 
accident, as I have acquainted you already. Tis on 
this account that the Genius commands them, not to 
attach themselves to any thing she can give ; nor to 
be like those simple bankers, who when they have re 
ceived any sum of money in trust, arc apt to be 
pleased with it, and look upon it as their own ; and 
when they are called upon to repay it, grow uneasy, 
and think it very hard ; not considering that it was 
deposited in their hands on that very condition, that 
the true owners might demand it again whenever they 
pleased. Just thus the GENIUS commands men to 
look upon all the gifts of FORTUNE : and to be aware 
that she may recall them whenever she has a fancy to 
do it ; or may send in more, and, if she pleases, may 
resume that and the former all together. He there 
fore commands those who are entering into life, to 
receive whatever she offers them, and, as soon as they 


have received it, to go on in quest of a more lasting 

S. What acquisition do you mean ? 

O. C. That which they may obtain from SCIENCE, 
if they can arrive safe to her. 

S. And what is that she gives them ? 

O. C. The- true knowledge of what is really good, 
and the firm, certain, and unchangeable possession 
of it. He therefore commands them to quit For 
tune immediately, in pursuit of this ; and when they 
come to those women, who, as I told you before, 
them too directly, and not to mind whatever they 
can say; but to go on for the enclosure of FALSE 
SCIENCE; there he bids them stay a little while, 
4o get what may be useful to them on the rest 
of their road, and then to leave her directly 
too, and go on for TRUE SCIENCE. These are 
the orders which the GENIUS gives to all that enter 
into life 5 and whoever transgresses or neglects them 
will be a miserable wretch. I have now explained 
the whole of the parable contained in this painting ; 
but if you have any particular question to ask in 
relation to any thing that I have said, I am very 
ready to answer it. 

S. We are much obliged to you. Pray then, 
what is it that the GENIUS orders them to getain the 
enclosure of Science, falsely so called ? 

0. C. Whatever may be of use to them. 

S. And what is there, that may be of use to 

O. C. Literature, and so much of the sciences as 
F F 2 


Plato says may serve people in the beginning 1 of their 
lives as a bridle, to keep them from being- drawn away 
by idler pursuits. 

S. And is it necessary for all who would arrive afc 
True Science, to do this ? 

O. C. No, it is not necessary, but it may be use 
ful ; though, in truth, these things themselves do not 
contribute towards making them the better men. 

#. Not contribute at all towards making them 
better ! 

O. C. Not at all, for they may be as good with 
out them. And yet they are not wholly unuseful \ 
for they may sometimes help us, as interpreters do, 
to the meaning of a language we don't understand : 
but, after all, 'tis better to understand the language 
ourselves, than to have any need of an interpreter ; 
and we may be good, without the assistance of 

S. In what then have the learned any advantage 
over others, towards becoming- better men ? 

O. (7. Why do you imagine they should have any 
advantage ; since you see they are deceived like others, 
as to what is good or bad ; and continue to be as 
much involved in all manner of vices ? for there is 
nothing that hinders a man, who is a master of lite 
rature, and knowing in all the sciences, from being at 
the same time a drunkard, or intemperate, or covetous, 
or unjust, or villanous, or, in one word, imprudent in 
all his ways. 

S. Tis true, we see too many instances of such. 

O. C. Of what advantage then is their learning", 
toward making them better men ? 


& You have made it appear, that it is of none ; 
but pray what is the reason of it ? 

O. C. The reason is this: that when they are got 
into the second enclosure, they fix there as if they were 
arrived at True Science. And what can they get by 
that ? since we see several persons, who go on directly 
from INTEMPERANCE, and the other VICES in the first 
enclosure, to the enclosure of TRUE SCIENCE, without 
ever calling in where these learned persons have taken 
up their abode. How then can the learned be said 
to have any advantage over them ? On the contrary, 
they are less apt to exert themselves, or to be instruct 
ed, than the former. 

S. How can that be ? 

O. C. Because they who are in the second enclo 
sure, not to mention any other of their faults, at least 
profess to know what they do not know : so that 
they acquiesce in their ignorance, and have no motive 
to stir them up toward the seeking of TRUE SCIENCE. 
Besides, do you not observe another thing ; that the 
OPINIONS, from the first enclosure, enter in among 
them, and converse with them, as freely as with the 
former ? so that they are not at all better even than 
they ; unless REPENTANCE should come to them, and 
should convince them, that it is not SCIENCE they 
have been embracing all this while ; but only the 
false appearance of her, which has deceived them. 
But while they continue in the same mind they are 
in, there is no hope left for them. To close all, 
my friends, what I would entreat of you is, to 
think over every thing I have said to you, to weigh 
it well in your minds, and to practise accordingly. 


Get a habit of doing right, whatever pain it costs 
you; let no difficulties deter you, in the way to 
VIRTUE : and account every thing else despicable, 
in comparison of this. Then will the lesson that 
I have taught you, prove to yourselves a lesson of 



Skin*tr-Street, Lendm. 






Johnson, Samuel 
Works New ed.